Threatened by erosion : the traumatic experience of Imo Communities.

Apart from periodic political upheavals and serious crimes like kidnapping and armed robbery, Imo State is faced with a number of other problems. Gully erosion is one of them.

As at the last count, there are over 401 identified erosion sites scattered in all the 27 local government areas of the State.

 

From communities like Umushievula Avuvu, Ikeduru local council area to parts of Ngor Okpala, Aboh Mbaise, Owerri North, Owerri Municipal, Owerri West, Onuimo, Isiala Mbano, Ehime Mbano, Ihitte Uboma, Mbaitoli, Njaba, Ideato North and South local council areas, the sad story remains the same.

 

Most of the erosion sites are not only life threatening and fearful but also leave a very sad commentary about the level of devastation done to the environment. Several families have been forced to flee from their homes and into safety, sometimes several kilometres away from their ancestral homes!

 

There are also known cases of graves that were washed away by the rampaging erosion. Public buildings, including market stalls, schools and hospitals, were not spared from the devastation. Communication between kith and kin, especially by road, has since been disrupted.

 

A school of thought believes, and strongly too, that man is a principal causative agent of the numerous erosion sites and other environmental disasters in the state. Sand is excavated with relish from anywhere, including the roadsides. At other times, the sand excavators produce on demand, documents authorising them to excavate sand, which was handed over to them by the Federal Ministry of Mines.

 

Currently, communities in Ideato North and South local government areas have been cut off from the rest of the state, following gully erosion sites that cut the Orlu-Mgbee-Urualla, Akokwa-Osina federal highway into two.

 

This erosion site was long identified but nothing serious was done to check the advancing gully until the highway bowed to the superior force of the erosion. Today, no big lorry or articulated vehicles can use the road. Even the light cars barely manage to meander through the danger zone that is now the Orlu-Mgbee-Urualla-Akokwa-Osina highway.

 

CHIDI NKWOPARA

 

 

 

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