Once again community members in their numbers of hundreds and thousands are displaced by raging floods that have caused untold hardships, hunger, suffering, breaking roads in several states across Nigeria including the Niger Delta States. Not less than 300,000 persons in Bayelsa and Rivers states have been affected by the current incident of flooding. The challenges posed by the flood range from complete displacement, loss of livelihood, destruction of properties, health impacts, loss of lives, animals are also dying, shortage of food supplies, furniture losses, disruption in education, blocking of access roads, different dimensions of vulnerabilities, insecurity, violence among other impacts.
We are grieved as thousands of her project beneficiaries and other community members across the affected states are displaced, distressed and depressed. The situation has worsened the existing poor conditions of lives in communities caused by impacts of oil extraction. In Rivers State, an estimated 1.3 million people majority of them women and girls are severely distraught by the flood. Hunger levels have worsened! In Krusha community, a riverine area in Ahoada West local government area, those trapped by the flood within the community are reportedly sitting inside their canoes for almost 2 weeks now. Reports also have it that community members are feeding on raw Indomie noodles since they are unable to cook inside the canoes. This is not just pathetic but unwholesome.
The risks of flooding can be minimised if community preparedness are taken more seriously by government are other stakeholders. While we appreciate the release of One Billion Naira by the Rivers State government as part of government efforts to respond to the flood menace, there is need for a comprehensive plan or flood response strategy to be put in place as a long term measure to address the issue.
It is disheartening that this is happening when the world is preparing for the 27th United Nations Conference of Parties on Climate Change holding in Egypt in the month of November 2022. This flood is a clear evidence of the situation in Africa as regards the climate crisis. Kebetkache has also provided humanitarian relief to three IDP camps in Rivers state Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government area, Ahoada East, and Ahoada West. We are making efforts to document experiences, impacts as well as community expectations by providing opportunity for victims to share stories. The aim is to promote participatory response as those affected will suggest community based solutions to the problems. As we join hands to support the victims of flooding to cope with the situation, Kebetkache calls on the African government, particularly the Nigerian government to effectively negotiate at the COP27 and push for Climate financing to be increased and be targeted at the most vulnerable communities, who are at the frontline of the climate crisis in Africa.
Between 17th – 20th October 2022, Kebetkache hosted the African Women Climate Assembly where more than 150 women from 14 African Countries deliberated on the climate crisis and demanded that African Government at #COP27 take into consideration the impacts of the extraction of mineral resources from Africa.
Though Africa has contributed less than 3% of all carbon emissions they are suffering the most impacts of climate change.