…As fire leaves more than 900 homeless in S. Africa, after devouring shacks***
The Anambra State Government has begun desilting of drainages in Atani, in Ogbaru Local Government area of the state, following flood menace which already displaced over 100 persons, just as fire leaves over 900 people homeless in Johannesburg’s Pomona informal settlement in Kempton Park.
Mr. Arinze Awogu, Transition Chairman of Ogbaru, observed in Atani, the local government headquarters on Monday that over 100 displaced persons were already taking refuge at the secretariat.
Awogu who said blocked drainages were part of the factor that exacerbated flood in Ogbaru which was natural flood prone, posited that the cleanup which was being spearheaded by the newly created Anambra State Drainage and Forest Preservation Agency, would go a long way to freeing the drains and lead storm water to natural waterways.
According to him, the Obodoukwu Road drainage channel that connects from Onitsha-Owerri Road to Elevant-House, Ojoto Street and Atani were the areas that witnessed the state government led massive cleanup.
“The massive clean-up is coming at a time when the council needed to open up blocked water channels so as to reduce the effect of the flood ravaging the council at the moment.
“We want to thank Gov. Willie Obiano for tackling issues of blocked drainages as most failed roads were as a result of water finding its way into the road because its channel had been blocked,” he said.
Awogu, who said that a number of families had been displaced from their homes due to flood, said some of the blocked drains had not been cleaned for more than10 years.
He called on residents of Ogbaru especially the flood exposed areas to stop dumping refuse in drains and engage in periodic clean up exercise to make the flood paths free.
“At the moment no fewer than 100 persons displaced by flood were currently taking refuge at the Atani Holding Camp.
“I call on the people to adopt acceptable ways of disposing waste because the era of dumping waste into water channels was over,” he said.
Chief Augustine Uyanne, a resident of the area said that some of the drainages had been blocked with sand for a long time that whenever it rained, water finds its way to their houses.
According to him, the drainage has been totally covered with sand and stagnant water to the point that we no longer remember that that is a drainage channel.
Also speaking, Chief Chido Obidiegwu, Managing Director of Anambra State Drainage and Forest Preservation Agency, said Obiano was fully committed to addressing environmental challenges in the state.
“The Agency will leave no stone unturned in its determination to make Anambra state clean.
“We want to assure that the Agency will ensure that drainages are no longer blocked and the only way to ensure that drainages are not blocked is to stop anybody that wants to dispose waste the wrong way,” he said.
Meanwhile, more than 900 people have been left homeless, following an inferno which burnt shacks in the Johannesburg’s Pomona informal settlement in Kempton Park.
Ekurhuleni Mayor, Mzwandile Masina however said on Tuesday, that they are investigating what caused the fire which caused extensive damage on Monday night.
“The cause of the fire is not yet established at this stage.
“Three to four hundred shacks were destroyed.
“No fatalities or injuries (are) reported at this stage.
“Our teams are investigating the cause of fire and we should receive preliminary report soon,” said Masina.
He said that 49 taxis had been provided to transfer people to community halls where, “they are being accommodated and given the necessary assistance”.
Masina invited the civil society and faith-based organizations to help those affected by the fire.