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Iriebe Flooding Records First Casualty …As Community Cries Out For Help

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Following the death of a middle-aged man caused by flooding in Iriebe Community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, some prominent indigenes of the community are calling for urgent intervention by the authorities to forestall further loss of lives.
Sources informed The Tide that, the deceased who hailed from Akwa-Ibom State, was allegedly bitten by a snake while walking through the water which has continued to rise.
According to the source, some parts of the community had been sacked by the flood with over 2000 persons displaced.
The worst affected areas include, School To Land areas, housing estate area and Shell location road. The rest are; low cost housing estates and the road leading to Umuebulu, trailer park areas around The Adolescent Programme (TAP) and the interlocking road.
Some prominent indigenes of the community who spoke to The Tide on the incident, said more lives may be lost as reptiles have continued to swim around the community.
They also alleged that some private schools in the community have closed down, while health facilities are also affected.
The paramount rulers of Iriebe community, Eze Jeremiah Worenwu, told The Tide that the flooding this time around is the worst in the area.
According to the paramount ruler, the situation is not only serious, but critical stressing that people are leaving the community in droves as a result of the situation.
He said the rising level of water is threatening neighbouring communities of Umuebulu and Igbo Etche, and called for urgent government intervention.
Also speaking, another prominent indigene of the community, Chief (Dr) Godwin Ollah, said Iriebe has been cut off from the rest of the state.
Ollah said there is no road in the community that has not been affected, adding that villagers now see snakes and other reptiles swimming round the community.
He however blamed the situation on the incessant rainfalls, lack of drainages and the on-going construction of the Port Harcourt/Aba express road by the Federal Government. According to him where drainage is higher than the existing surfaces, there is a likelihood that such a place will experience massive flooding.
The community leader who is the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the community, called for government intervention to forestall further loss of lives and property.
Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said, it would visit the community to undertake assessment of the level of destruction caused by the flood.
South South Zonal Head of NEMA, Mr. Walson Random, told The Tide in a telephone interview that the agency would undertake an on-the-spot assessment of the situation before recommending for relief materials.
Effort to reach the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment proved abortive, as he was said to be out of town.
Meanwhile, the Africa Global Development for Positive Change Initiative (ADI) has called for collaboration between the Rivers State Government and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to save the situation in Iriebe.
The Executive Director of the organisation, Princess Dan Mbachi told The Tide in an interview that the situation at Iriebe demands urgent government attention.
He said that the government should not only take measure to create drainages in the community but sensitise the people on the importance of maintaining a clean environment.

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We’re Hopeful Of Passage Of Water Resources Bill -Minister

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The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has expressed hope over the passage of the National Water Resources Bill before the National Assembly.
Adamu expressed the optimism while answering questions on the sidelines of a two-day training for Water Resources Correspondents, Editors, and News Analysts in the Nigerian Water Sector’  with theme, ‘Reporting Water in its Perspective’.
The Tide source reports that the training is to build capacity of reporters on water resources sector by having deep knowledge of terminologies and issues in the water sector.
The Tide also recalls that the Bill, which was introduced in the 8th Assembly, caused outrage as some Nigerians interpreted the law as a power grab by the federal Government.
“It is part of our roadmap as far as I am concerned. We will continue to engage with the National Assembly, now that they have come back from recess, we hope to engage.
“At the same time, we are talking to all other antagonists to allay the fears to accommodate whatever apprehension. We are very confident that we’ll get that bill passed,” the minister said.
He further stated that it was wrong for a section of Nigerians to completely criticize and condemn the whole Bill instead of pointing out areas that needs to be reconsidered.
“It doesn’t make sense if you have problem with the Bill; identify the key issue or problem if there is need for amendment instead to completely condemn just because of one or two items you are not satisfied with.
“In the National Assembly, you have public hearing, and we will still go back,” the minister said.

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Community Residents Flay Dumping Of Sachets, Bottles In Drainages

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Some residents of Eneka Community in Obio/Akpor  Local Government Area of Rivers State have condemned the indiscriminate dumping of water sachets and bottles in drainages and along the road in the community.
Speaking in an interview with The Tide in the community, they said the situation is not only an eyesore but responsible for incessant flooding being witnessed in the community.
Mr Chibuike Adim, indigene of Rumuoji Eneka condemned the practice, adding that it is this practice that blocked the gutters and caused flashed flooding in some areas in the community.
Adim called on the state government to save the community from the practice by constituting the tax force to check this habit.
He also said those who engaged in this practice are not only uneducated but also foolish, stressing that such people must be dealt with according to the law.
Also speaking, Miss Patience Odum also condemned the practice but added that there is no designated refuse dump site in the community.
Odum also urged for the provision of refuse receptacle in the area while the Rivers State Waste Management agency (RIWAMA) should also monitor the activities of the people.
Also speaking, Miss Alice Nsikak, a student of Rivers State University said the practice has become a big problem to the community as the entire drainages are blocked.
She stressed the need for sensitisation of the residence against the practice.
Nsikak also called on government to improve the method of refuse collection by providing waste bin to homes on the streets.
According to her, “people could be asked to pay little amount of money every month”, adding that the proposal will check the menace as well as check flash flooding in the community.
Also speaking with The Tide, Mr Ndubuise Ogom confirmed that dumping of plastic materials, refuge and pure water sachets in the drains is a very common practice in Eneka and also felt very bad about this practice.
This practice, added, must be stopped by government by promulgating laws to punish offenders. This if done, will prevent people taking part in such practice. He suggested, a fine of N1000 be slammad on those dumping refuge and plastic containers in the gutter.

By: Oribim Nyanaa Ibama, Elendu Obochi Esther & Inimgba Favour Victor

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Environment

UNESCO Laments Impending Collapse Of Biodiversity …Says Human Survival At Risk

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The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has raised alarm at the unprecedented speed which biodiversity is collapsing globally.
The Director-General of UNESCO Ms Audrey Azoulay, expressed this concern at the UNESCO 33rd session of the the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB-ICC) Programme in Abuja.
Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on earth at all its levels, from genes to ecosystems, and can encompass the evolutionary, ecological, and cultural processes that sustain
The director-general said that with the impending collapse, not only was human survival at risk, but also the beauty and the diversity of the world.
She said that the collapse was from the treetops to the ocean depths and from vertebrates to invertebrates, adding that no species was spared.
“This is the spirit driving UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme. It is what makes it so pioneering and so valuable.
“We all have to stand on the earth itself and go with her at her pace. With this impending collapse, not only is human survival at risk, but also the beauty, the diversity of the world.
“But this collapse is not inevitable: there is still time to make peace with the planet,” she said.
According to her, there is the conviction that we can re-forge our relationship with nature, that we can reconcile development and environmental protection.
“We must harness the power of education to rebuild our relationship with nature. UNESCO is fully mobilised to ensure that the environment becomes a key curriculum component by 2025.
“This is in line with the commitment made by the 80th governments we gathered at the Berlin conference last May.
UNESCO, a custodian of knowledge and know-how concerning biodiversity, has been developing concrete solutions to environmental challenges for over 50 years through the MAB programme and its network of protected sites, covering nearly six per cent of the planet.
With 714 biosphere reserves in 129 countries, including transboundary sites, UNESCO seeks to reconcile humans and nature and demonstrate that it is possible to use biodiversity sustainably while fostering its conservation.
The Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, said that the world was facing planetary crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.
According to her, this global loss of biodiversity is threatening the security of the world’s food supplies and the livelihoods of millions of people including indigenous people and local communities, especially in the African region.

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