The Anambra State government has said that properties valued at over N30 billion, including farmlands, crops and residential buildings, were destroyed in the riverine areas of the state within the past one year due to gully erosion caused by heavy flooding.
The state coordinator, World Bank-assisted erosion control projects, Mike Ivenso, stated this while conducting consultants from the World Bank and other agencies round the various on-going World Bank erosion control project sites in the state.
While appraising the report on the progress made since the team last visited the state, Ivenso, an engineer, complained of lack of trained and experienced manpower, saying that most of their experienced officers had retired from service.
He listed other challenges to include the unusual heavy rains experienced this year; arrests of some contractors and their workers by some communities at the project sites, as well as low quality work done by some contractors.
The project sites include the Omagba-Onitsha erosion control, Umudunu-Abagana, Enugwu-Ukwu both in Njikoka council area, the Abidi Umuoji, Ugamuma Obosi, and the Ndiagu Ikenga Ogidi erosion sites.
Dr. Amos Abu, head of the inspection mission of experts from the World Bank, United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO-UN), and officials of the federal government, stated that about 15 new active and life threatening sites, had been established out of the more than 1000 such sites already identified in the state by the state government.
The chief consultant, Mr. Silver Yance, noted that work was in progress in all the project sites visited, though he advised that the pace of work should be increased now that the dry season has set in.
He blamed inappropriate drainage systems that were often channeled into farmlands and residential quarters for the heavy flooding and gully erosion menace in some parts of the state.