About 30 persons were reported missing in a boat mishap that occurred in the riverine Ogbaru local government area of Anambra State.
The incident, according to the chairman of the Transition Committee of the local government area, Hon. Pascal Aniegbuna, happened on Friday, October 7, 2022, at Umunnankwo community.
The ill-fated boat said to be carrying about 85 persons on board, was said to have taken off from Onukwu Bridge and was heading to Nkwo market, Ogbakuba when capsized.
Between 20 to 30 persons were said to be missing as at press time on Saturday,
Sources in the area said that though some of the passengers were rescued, several others, unfortunately, lost their lives, even though the exact numbers of those rescued and dead have not been determined as at the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, a former member of the House of Representatives, who represented Ogbaru federal constituency of Anambra State, Hon. Victor Afam Ogene, in a swift reaction to the incident, has expressed shock and deep sorrow over the boat mishap, particularly the lives lost.
Ogene, who is the Labour Party candidate for the Ogbaru Federal Constituency in 2023 elections, decried that Ogbaru was devastated, saying: “I am in shock over the horrendous boat accident that took the precious lives of some of its sons and daughters.”
He said further: “This sad news of this terrible accident is numbing and painful to me as a person and must be very devastating, especially to the immediate families of the victims. This is a collective loss for Ogbaru as a whole and we are united in sorrow.
“My condolences go to the affected families and also Ogbaru people and communities, who have in recent times found themselves in the jaws of severe flood disaster that has practically submerged all our communities and displaced thousands of people.”
Recall that Hon. Ogene had earlier made an appeal in a press statement he issued on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to come to the rescue of the people of Ogbaru over the flood disaster in the area.
He had then raised the alarm that houses, farms and other businesses in Ogbaru, have been swallowed by the horrendous flood, leaving many people in dire agony, sorrow, tears and hopelessness.
He named some of the affected communities as Ogwu Ikpele, Akili Ogidi, Obeagwe, Ossomala, Ogwuaniocha, Umunankwo, Ogbakuba, Ochuche, Umuzu, Akili Ozizor, Atani, Ohita and Odekpe. Other areas devastated by the ravaging flood included Amiyi, Iyiowa, Ogbeukwu, Okoti and parts of Okpoko.
The ex-lawmaker, who raised the alarm after his visit to the area last weekend, had decried: “It is pathetic. It is a terrible sight in Ogbaru as a result of the flood disaster. The human and environmental conditions here are absolutely pathetic and requires urgent action from government in order to alleviate the sufferings of the despondent victims, most of whom have lost all their belongings to the flood disaster.
“These flood victims that cut across several communities, urgently need relief aterials and other assistance from government and it’s agencies, such as NEMA and SEMA. I therefore call on these agencies to rise up to its responsibility and bring urgent succour to the people of Ogbaru, who are currently besieged by flooding, so as to avert the outbreak of health challenges associated with such incident.
“Most of them urgently need food, clothing materials, beddings, medical supplies and shelter.
“I also call on the Anambra State Government, to liaise with the Transition Committee Chairman, Hon. Paschal Aniegbuna and President Generals of Ogbaru communities, to coordinate relief efforts to ensure that there are prudently and transparently distributed in the best interest of the victims.
“Please, NEMA, SEMA and state government, should consider this as a serious and desperate SOS message and treat it with the urgency, humaneness and responsibility that it requires.
“Sadly, besides the setting up of four Internally Displaced Persons (IDPx) camps and a Flood Committee, no material assistance – besides the provision of 100 foams – has come the way of the people, before yesterday’s disaster,” the former federal lawmaker lamented.