Ahead of the commencement of the civil work of the World Bank assisted Delta State Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), the State Project Management Unit (SPMU) has commenced palliative work to desilting of drains across four, out of the five intervention erosion and flood communities in the state.

The Project Coordinator, Delta NEWMAP, Mr. Isaac Ufiofio, who stated this in an interview with newsmen in Asaba, recently, said the measures were to cushion the effect of flood and erosion hazard in the affected communities.

According to him, “these measures were parts of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa administration to improve the environmental and sanitary condition of the communities, as well as improving the lives of the project affected persons living at the grassroots”.

He said Delta NEWMAP under the Delta State Ministry of Environment, has commenced palliative works for the desilting of drains in Jesse and Ubulu-Uku communities, saying Ukwu-Nzu and Obomkpa communities would take their turn thereafter.

The Project Coordinator said the desilting of drains would not be necessary in Owanta community due to the severe nature of the gullies along it corridors, as straight civil work was the panacea.

He added that the operators of the project were expediting action for the smooth takeoff of the civil work at Owanta Erosion Site in Ika North East Local Government Area.

“The major civil work has not started; the ongoing palliative measures was designed to cushion the effect of flood and erosion hazard in the affected communities.

The whole essence is to desilt existing drains and remove waste to approved dump site for flood water to flow easily to discharge point so that flood water will not overflow the shoulder of the drains and submerge residential buildings, as well as providing easy access to their various homes.

Also, failed culvert are to be reestablished to allow for easy drains of flood water from both side of the road and the adjoining environment. In some areas, the flood has created emerging gully across the road which will be filled and leveled for easy vehicular movement”, said the Project Coordinator.

The representative of the contracting Firm, SPPIR, Mr. John Agusa, confirmed that the the palliative work in Jesse was completed with opening of blocked culvert and construction of new ones, while the one at Ubulu-Uku was ongoing.

He listed the roads that received the palliative intervention in Jesse to include Efemini, Idjedaka, Uyo, Akpaka, Old Market road to Ethiope River and Oguedion road among others.

Stakeholders who spoke at separate interview, commended the Delta State Government, World Bank and NEWMAP for the palliative works geared towards improving the environmental and sanitary conditions of the project affected communities.

Our correspondent reports that workers were seen clearing and evacuating drains into tippers, as well as the grading of some roads by caterpillars to make it motorable at this festive period.