By G9ija

Flood victims in the riverine areas of Anambra State, particularly Umueze Anam community of Anambra West Local Government Area, have cried out for help, saying they now sleep on bridges in the area.

This is as houses, markets and farms in the community have been submerged by the flood, sacking the residents in the area.

When reporters took a tour of the submerged area, it was learnt that residents of the area have fallen to severe hardship as their properties and farms have been destroyed by the flood.

In Anambra East LGA, a popular riverside market, Otuocha Market, was totally submerged by water, with not even the roofs of shops in the market visible.

Some traders, who spoke to reporters, lamented that most of their wares were still in their shops when they resumed for business last week, and found out that the market was now under the water.

Mr. Anthony Okeke, a supplier of bread, said: “I came very early to the market to find out that my shop has been submerged. You know, bread is not something you can retrieve once water touches it. These ones I am selling now are those supplied to me on credit. We are calling on government to come to our aid; please help us with loans, so that we can start afresh. As you can see, we now trade on the main
road.”

In Umueze Anam and Mmiata Anam in Anambra West LGA, both communities, which are neighbours, have been divided by water. For Umueze Anam, the entire community is currently under water, with no exception.

Also, a victim of the flood, Mr. John Okoye, said: “We now sleep on the rooftop of our buildings, for those who have storey buildings, and you have to keep your canoe handy for emergency movement, while others sleep on the newly constructed Umueze Anam bridge, which also serves as both residence and markets for the sale of our food crop.

“I am a canoe operator. I have sent my family away, but for me, I sleep on the bridge, same for other members of the community. Once it is late, we start making arrangements about the space we will sleep on the bridge.”

He lamented that flooding has become a yearly occurrence, urging the federal and state governments to come to their aid. Okoye denied receiving prior warning about the flood from the state government, or any relocation plan.

Attempt to speak with the Chairman of the Anambra East LGA, Obi Nweke, over plans to relocate the displaced people was not possible, as he was said not to have arrived in his office at the time of the visit.

However, an official of the council area, who spoke to on condition of anonymity, said it was not true that the indigenes were not alerted.

According to him, “The chairman kept sounding the alarm to them for months now. Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) had early this year predicted that there would be flood this year, and that Anambra will be among the states to experience it. We have been sounding the alarm, and also created IDP camps, so how can they say they did not get our warning?”