By Vincent Ujumadu
Awka—THE Nigerian Red Cross has commenced the evacuation of flood victims to the 28 Internally Displaced Persons, IDP, camps in the eight local government areas of Anambra State affected by this year’s flood.
The IDPs, which have been equipped with the necessary facilities, including tents, water, toilet facilities, mattresses and blankets, are located in Anambra East, which has six camps: Awka North (3), Ayamelum (6), Ekwusigo (2), Ogbaru (3), Onitsha North (4), Onitsha South (2) and Ihiala (2).
It was gathered yesterday that the Red Cross stepped up the process due to the alleged reluctance of most of the victims to vacate their flooded homes, apparently for the fear of the unknown.
There were also reports last week that water hyacinth that had grown on the Anambra River, was posing difficulties in the attempt to evacuate the flood victims in the state to safer areas.
Vice chairman of the Anambra State chapter of the Nigerian Red Cross, Professor Peter Katchy said yesterday during capacity building for volunteers of the organization involved in the evacuation process in Awka, that the camps had been fully prepared to receive the flood victims.
He said that though some of the flood victims were reluctant to leave their flooded homes, the volunteers had been trained to counsel them by reminding them that it would be in their best interest to relocate until the flood receded.
According to him, as the first respondent to any emergency, the Red Cross was prepared to handle the situation and urged people in the affected communities to adhere strickly to the advice of the volunteers working in their areas.
While admitting that the ongoing recession in the country was affecting the evacuation process, Katchy observed that Red Cross usually excelled more during crisis situations.
He said: “As part of the emergency management and risk reduction strategies against the 2016 riverine flooding, Red Cross and other relevant agencies have provided the basic infrastructure and facilities such as roads and communication systems, aimed at making it easier for more efficient search –and-rescue responses.
“We have also carried out vigorous awareness campaigns and public education on risk treatment and reduction strategies and inaugurated integrated community –based disaster risk reduction programmes such as emergency management committees, extension services on modern farming techniques and deployed hydro-graphic information to determine peak flow periods and characteristics to be able to reliably predict flood periods.”