By Peter Okolie
The Federal Government on Monday, handed over relief materials worth millions of Naira to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for distribution to victims of 2022 flood disaster in Imo.
Some of the relief materials included food items, bags of cement, roofing sheets, ceiling boards, mattresses, grinding and sewing machines, pillows, blankets and cooking pots, amongst others.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, the Minister of State for Education, Chief Goodluck Opiah, said the intensity of the flood was overwhelming, describing it as the “worst”.
“It was the worst flood. The effect was highly destructive and it zeroed the livelihood of the people and the entire ecosystem of the Niger Delta region, homes, farmlands and businesses,” he noted.
Opiah, who hails from the Niger Delta community of Imo, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the distribution of the relief materials to flood victims in the Niger Delta states.
According to him, the relief materials represented the compassion and empathy of the Federal Government toward the people of Niger Delta.
He said the materials would be meticulously and judiciously distributed in all the identified Local Government Areas of the state.
“In addition, government officers and security personnel have been assigned to monitor the distribution exercise to ensure that the items got to the beneficiaries,” he said.
Opiah said that the distribution exercise in Imo was the first phase, noting that the implementation of the second phase would commence soon.
In her remarks, the Director, Legal Services, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Mrs Sarah Okunade, said the palliative items were handed over to NEMA for onward distribution to the identified communities/Local Government Areas.
Okunade explained that a NEEDS Assessment was conducted by NEMA after the disaster in the oil-bearing communities of the state, which resulted in the acquisition of the items.
Also speaking, NEMA’s Head of Operations in Imo, Mr Ifeanyi Nnaji, who received the items, said the agency would work with its counterpart in the state to ensure that the items got to the people they were meant for.
Nnaji explained that NEMA would continue to sensitise persons living along the river banks with a view to mitigating the effects of flood disasters in the state.