The 2022 flood disaster in Anambra and some other States in Nigeria is no doubt one too many.
In previous years, after two weeks, the flood usually recedes, giving victims who may have relocated to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps the opportunity to move back to their homes.
This year’s flooding which began in Anambra one month ago has not shown any sign of receding, just as more homes are being submerged on a daily basis, swelling the number of victims who are relocating to IDPs camps daily.
A recent visit to two IDPs camps in Anambra East Local Government Area showed the level of pain most of the victims were undergoing.
In Umuoba Anam, hundreds of people were seen living in a hall, owned by a school. While some had mattresses to sleep on, many others, especially women and children, used pieces of clothes spread on the floor.
A flood victim, who spoke to journalists; Mr Emmanuel Okonkwor said: “I am saddened over the condition of the victims here. They lay on bare floor, and most of them are yet to receive anything from the government except what some individuals brought. They also need money to buy condiments, kerosene and firewood to make the food which people eat once a day.”
In Mmiata Anam, Mrs Tina Okeke said she has been sleeping on the floor with her six children since the flood set in and forced them to relocate to the camp, while also saying that hunger has been a major challenge to them.
Meanwhile, the high number of deaths in the flood prone areas has been attributed to the unwillingness of most rural farmers to leave their farms.
A farmer in the area, David Ogbonna, who spoke to DAILY POST during a visit to the flood prone area said: “You won’t understand, but it is difficult to just enter the boat and be taken to upland areas, when you know that you have a house, and properties that you will be leaving behind.
“Sometimes, these government people just provide a boat to rescue you, but the truth is that we consider the things we are leaving behind. Sometimes, when you leave and water recedes, thieves may raid your house, even your crops in the farm.”
Offering another perspective, a candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Mrs Peace Obimuonso said the human casualty being experienced as a result of the flood could have been averted if the people were guaranteed of a good camp with amenities, food, water and other basic needs.
“All these deaths could have been averted if the people were sure of the source of their next meal. Most times, the farmers borrow money from local money lenders, which if they fail to pay back when due, attracts heavy consequences. But because they know that leaving their homes and going to live as refugees in camps was not the best, they now stay back to see what they can salvage of their crops.”
DAILY POST, however, gathered that efforts were in top gear by farmers in Omor, Ayamelum Local Government Area, to rescue their crops from flood.
Mr Ejike Sunday, who spoke to our correspondent in Awka said: “I’m going to the village. We have a meeting, and we hope to commence an operation to rescue our crops. The Government doesn’t know what our people go through when a flood comes. They just hope that you will quickly move to IDPs camps, but our people are basically farmers. The crops we have spent time, energy and money growing will be underwater. It is hard to leave.
“Some people took loans to farm for the year, what will you tell the lenders? So, there is a meeting in the village to see how we can rescue some crops. The tendency is that most farm produce may be harvested earlier than normal, to avoid being further destroyed by flood.”