By Vincent Ujumadu & Chimaobi Nwaiwu
Bishop, Diocese of Mbamili, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Rt Rev. Henry Okeke yesterday said that all the 45 Churches in his Diocese were affected by the flood ravaging Anambra West Local Government Area, Anambra State.
Speaking to Vanguard through the telephone yesterday, Bishop Okeke said most of his pastors have relocated to Onitsha and their home towns for now.
He said: “All my 45 Churches are affected by the flood, 3/4 of my pastors have relocated, some to Onitsha while others have my permission to relocate to their home towns for the time being.
“The sufferings of the people, especially our farmers are better imagined. However, the government has stepped into the situation for rescue operations.”
6 die, another Cathedral submerged as floods continue ravage in Anambra
No fewer than six people have lost their lives in Anambra West Local Government Area, Anambra State, following the devastating flood that has taken over the communities in the area, including the Diocese of Mbamili Cathedral Church of St Michael Umuikwu Anam belonging to the Church of Nigeria, Anglican communion.
This was disclosed to Vanguard in an interview by the traditional ruler of Mmiata Anam, His Royal Highness, Igwe Sylvester Nnose, who was visibly worried that he would soon be evacuating his palace following the threatening flood.
Already, the Bishop Court where Bishop of Mbamili Diocese, Rt. Rev. Henry Okeke’s family live and where he also has his office, has long been submerged and repeated calls made by the Bishop for intervention when the flood was gradually taking over the court was allegedly not headed to.
Bishop Okeke told Vanguard that he has relocated his family out of the Bishop Court and incidentally, St. Johns Anglican Church Umueze Anam where he parked his car and other cars belonging to the Diocese has also been submerged with no place to worship in the Diocese.
Monarch wants FG to declare state of emergency in Anambra West
Igwe Nnose who said he might be vacating his palace any moment following the raging flood and its growing height, urged the Federal Government to declare a State of Emergency in Anambra West Council Area, adding that the people have no place to run to.
A similar call was also made by the president general of Umueze Anam, Dr Emma Udeakpee.
The traditional ruler, the communities and the entire Anambra West Local Government people therefore appealed to the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA and State Emergency Management Agency to come to their aid.
Some of the communities in Anambra West Local Government Area submerged by the flood included: Umuikwu Anam, Umudora Anam, Oroma Etiti Anam, Umueme Anam, Umueze Anam, Umuoba Anam, Mmiata Anam, Iyiora Anam, Nzam, Olumbanasa Ward 1 and Ward 2 and Ukwalla.
According to Igwe Nnose, “As you can see, we have lost so many things, including six lives, multi billion Naira house-hold properties, crops we are yet to harvest and those were harvesting before the flood came and other things in the community. There is an urgent need to relocate the victims as quickly as possible, otherwise more lives will be lost.”
Also speaking, the president general of Umueze Anam, Dr. Udeakpee said: “Although the flood is an annual event, it has risen beyond the normal level where we expected the flood to reach. Our children are no more going to school let alone going to church in the communities.”
One of the victims of the flood, Mrs. Ngozi Ikwuegbu told Vanguard that they are stranded, waiting for the federal and state governments’ intervention.
Osinbajo in Anambra, pledges FG’s assistance to victims
Also yesterday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visited some flood- ravaged parts of Anambra State and pledged Federal Government’s assistance to the affected communities.
According to the Vice President, the federal government would continue to supply food and relief materials to the victims of the flood disaster in the state, explaining that his visit to the state was to assess the level of flooding in the state.
One of the places visited by the Vice President was Umueze Anam in Anambra West local government area. He was accompanied by the Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano, Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige , Delta State governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa and Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Mr. Mustapha Maihaja,
Recalling that the Federal Government had declared natural disaster in the areas adversely affected by the flood, Osinbajo said the Federal Government would deploy more resources to alleviate the suffering of the people.
He said: “I flew over those disaster areas and I witnessed the rise, especially in Onitsha, Ogbaru, Awka North, Coscharis farm and other places. We have directed NEMA to continue deploying relief materials to the various IDP camps and some home settlements that have refused to vacate from their homes.”
Receiving the Vice President, Governor Obiano explained that he had earlier visited the affected areas to ascertain the level of disaster, adding that apart from the home settlements, the victims’ farms, which are their major sources of livelihood, were also ravaged by the flood.
The traditional ruler of Aguleri, Igwe Christopher Idigo solicited for federal government’s assistance that would provide a lasting solution to the problem of flood, noting that building dams in the flood –prone areas would help to absorb water from River Benue and River Niger.