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‍Let ‘PIYU’ Lock This Flood!



One Dead, As Flood Submerge Over 65 Communities In Ughelli South

By Moses Darah

Flood is the most frequent type of natural disaster that occurs annually in Nigeria. The main flood is called ‘oghwe’ in Urhobo, while its initial stage is iku. There is a minor oghwe and a major oghwe depending on climate change. Its devastating effect is comparable to that of the post COVID-19 era.

In a survey of floods by Olanrewaju et al. (2019) titled, “Impacts of flood disasters in Nigeria: A critical evaluation of health implications and management,” reveals that over the past three decades, floods have affected over 2.8 billion people in the world and caused over 200,000 deaths, whereas about 13.3 million and 16.6 million people died worldwide from COVID-19 from January 2020 to December 2021.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) categorised the 2012 flood disaster in Nigeria as the worst flood to have hit the country in the past 50 years. But ten years later, what seems to be the mother of all floods is here. The water level has surpassed that of 2012, and it is still rising. At Gbaregolor, an Eghwu riverine settlement in Ughelli South LGA, my Senior Prefect at St Vincent’s College, Okwagbe, Godbless Freeborn measured the water level of 2012 to build his house. Unfortunately, the same house is terribly affected by the current flooding.

ALSO READ: Olomu Donates Relief Materials And Cash Gifts To Flood Victims In Sagbama Local Government Area

The frequency of flooding in Nigeria shows that we must dissuade our minds from any theory which suggests that the flood is coming only from Cameroon. We must face the reality that floods are also often caused by heavy rainfall, rapid snowmelt, or a storm surge from a tropical cyclone or tsunami in coastal areas. All efforts at curtailing future incidents must therefore put all of these into consideration.

In the past, our wood industry (igedu egbo) relied solely on flooding to “float” their timber through the creeks for marketing in Warri. Recall the ‘Piyu’ song by the Esaba Fashion Group, where a woman allegedly confessed to having locked the oghwe that year in the coven (egben orhan) from flowing, thereby depriving the husband, a timber marchant from floating his timbers. If only scholars had studied the power behind that religious science used by that woman, the 2012 and 2022 flood disasters would have been minimised.

However, the initial reaction of the Delta State government, directing all political appointees to be on the ground and set up camps to help victims cope with the 2022 flood crisis, is commendable.

The Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) has also asked representatives of affected communities to pick up relief materials donated by DESOPADEC from the cultural centre in Ovwiamuge.

Last week, I took a census of 55 communities affected in Ughelli South LGA and lamented the non-availability of camps in Delta Central Senatorial District. But today, there are IDP camps in Otughievwen, Okwagbe and other locations. Udu communities of Ukperheren, Ekrota, Emadadja and others are also battling with the rising water.

At this moment, all hands must be on deck to support the victims. Individuals and NGOs can do something too.


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