South-East Communities Under Threat Of Erosion As Rain Begins

By KayCee March 17, 2016 10:20
With just two rains so far this year, many parts of the South East zone are already under the threat of devastating gully erosion, which has become a common feature in many communities in the zone. In past years, it was common to see many families abandon their homes whenever it rained because their homes lie within gully erosion sites that are up to 100 feet deep in some cases.

In many communities, the floods are constantly creating gully erosion sites in areas that hitherto did not have such problems and sometimes pulling down people’s houses and those residing close to the sites no longer sleep with their eyes closed.
The worrisome aspect is that the large number of erosion sites seen in many communities started as small holes and later developed into a crisis situation. Apart from houses, completed roads are also being threatened such that it is common to see many roads cut into two by erosion.
The most popular erosion sites in Anambra State are located at the Nanka-Agulu-Oko axis, Nkisi near Onitsha, Ojoto, Alor, Umuchiana in Ekwulobia, Ozubulu, Oraifite, Uli and Awka, among many other areas. Sometimes the erosion is man-made.
For instance, residents in Awka woke up after recent heavy rains to find out that most of the roads were filled with debris from blocked drains and culverts even as it was noticeable in some areas that cracks were developing at the edges of the roads. If allowed to continue, the small cracks could develop into big gully erosion sites.
Also, due to road construction in some parts of the state during the last dry season, residents of such areas noticed after the recent rain that many houses were flooded due to lack of a proper drainage system.
If proper channels were not created for the flood, they could develop into gully erosion sites. Anambra State, which is the most erosion devastated state in the country with over 1000 sites, has had many farm lands washed away, thereby denying the people one of the main sources of their livelihood. Although other states in the South-East geopolitical zone of the country have many erosion sites that also cause devastation, none compare to Anambra State in terms of numbers and size.
Though the federal and state governments have been making efforts to contain the erosion menace, the rate at which new ones develop surpasses the rate of control, necessitating the call by governors in the affected states for the intervention of international agencies to fight the menace. South East Voice, SEV, investigations showed that the devastating gully erosion at Oko in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State, threatened to destroy the family house of the former Vice President, Chief Alex Ekwueme and over 22 other families in the community.
Already, the people of the area are said to be afraid that the erosion from this year’s rainy season may complete the devastation of the community having consumed over 22 houses earlier. The Oko devastating gully erosion that cuts into the town from Ifite Nanka and Amako Nanka communities in Aguata Local Government Area, is better seen than imagined.
The present situation in Oko forced the Umuada Oko, (daughters of Oko), married within and outside the community to embark on peaceful demonstration against the alleged nonchalant attitude of the Federal Government towards addressing the erosion problem in the community and other neighbouring areas. Speaking with SEV in Oko, President General of the community, Hon. Cyprian Nwanmuo, expressed disappointment that both the federal and Anambra State governments have not done anything to address the erosion menace. Nwanmuo said that the community made efforts to secure government’s intervention through the state Ministry of Environment without achieving results.
“We have Erosion Control Committee in Oko. We have made representations to the Anambra State government, the Federal Ministry of Environment; the Ecological Unit, House of Representatives and even the World Bank asking for intervention and assistance to save our town from being wiped out by gully erosion but help is not forthcoming” he said.
A similar problem is being faced by residents of Ibolo Layout in Obosi, Idemili North Local Government Area of the state. According to the community, they lost six persons including four women and two children last year to the devastating erosion that swept the area, destroying houses, farmlands and other household properties worth millions of Naira.
The Ibolo residents equally protested peacefully to the state government for action to be taken having survived last year erosion, saying something needs to be done urgently on their roads from where the erosion find its way into the community. Chief Anthony Ekechukwu told SEV that residents of the community were not happy nothing had been done to address the erosion problems and the roads it had consumed in the community.
Other residents in the area namely Chief John Okoye, Ndidi Uzoma and Chinasa Onuoha, also corroborated Chief Ekechukwu’s claims saying that they were jittery over what erosion would do to them this year and appealed for government’s intervention to save them from the impending danger that may come with this year’s erosion, which had given them some signs already.
Other communities where erosion had caused destruction include Umuogboo Obiofia Nnewi Ichi and at 100 Foot Uruagu Nnewi road in Nnewi North Local Government Area. In Enugu State, the menace f erosion on the environment has devastated farmlands, lvestock, washed-off roads, displaced individuals and communities.
Culled from Vanguard



By KayCee March 17, 2016 10:20