Oyo warns residents to vacate flood-prone areas

Olubunmi Osoteku, Ibadan

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The Oyo State government has advised people living close to flood-prone areas to vacate the areas pending the period the current heavy rains would recede, to avoid loss of lives and valuable property to the flood.

The government also enjoined the people to desist from actions capable of aggravating flooding, including dumping of wastes on river channels and waterways, which may result in the blockage of drainage and river channels.

The Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Kehinde Ayoola, gave the warning when officials from the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project (IUFMP) visited some areas where flood had wreaked havoc on residents, after it rained for over two hours on Tuesday.

Some of the areas where the rivers and streams overflowed their banks in Ibadan include Ogundipe and Arikemase communities at Olodo area of Egbeda Local Government Areas.

According to him, a good number of buildings in those areas were erected on waterways and road setbacks, especially in the flood-prone areas, warning that it would not be business as usual anymore.

Ayoola said, “It would be recalled that during the last workshop programme on Flood Forecast, Early Warning Service and Implementation, it was categorically stated that Oyo State was likely to experience flooding this September due to climate change, hence the need for residents living in such flood-prone areas to vacate immediately so as to avert loss of lives and properties.”

The Commissioner noted that the forecast had come to reality with the level of the water of rivers and streams in the targeted areas.

We do not need to wait to have dead victims and destroyed properties before we act. That is why we are visiting these areas to reinstate the warning for residents to vacate the areas and stop dumping indiscriminately.”

Adding that the water body is powerful when it comes as a flood and flood is as a result of the inability of the water to pass through its natural course, Ayoola disclosed that the government would soon start pulling down structures that are obstructing the easy passage of water and those caught dumping refuse in rivers will soon be made to face the wrath of the Law.

The former Speaker further stated that the present administration would not stand by watching community dwellers endangering their lives, adding that plans were rife by the government to dredge and expand river channels at the Ona River in Olodo Community in Egbeda Local Government Area.

Speaking extensively to the people, the Commissioner advised that to prevent flooding, the community dwellers should desist from dumping wastes into rivers, drainages and other waterways, stop erecting buildings in flood-prone areas and guide children when passing through water areas, as a preventive measure to keep them from drowning.

He also visited Idi-Ayunre at Oje Market, Ibadan, to inspect the level of damage the heavy downpour had caused the people living there.

While addressing the traders, the former Lawmaker reiterated that to achieve disaster and flood free communities, all hands must be on deck, charging the people to comply with the State’s environmental laws when carrying out their legitimate businesses.