Dehydration, Cholera threaten residents as water sources dry up in C’River communities
As the dry season sets in, the people of Cross River State are in for acute water scarcity. DAILY POST reports that it is more pronounced in the northern part of the State, leading to dehydration and cholera among the people. It is so bad that over 10,000 locals are surviving by fetching water from one stream. The rocky topography of places like Obanliku, Bekwarra, Boki, Yala local government areas in northern Cross River, as well as parts of Akamkpa LGA in the southern part has also contributed to poor availability of water in the State. Many streams have dried up in those places. As a result, people are experiencing difficulty accessing water sources. The situation has compounded health issues, according to residents. Last month, in ten agrarian communities of Ekureku in Abi LGA in central Cross River, 20 persons were confirmed dead due to an outbreak of cholera. Most of the dead included elderly women and children. The reasons for the outbreak included a lack of clean water. Permanent Secretary in the State's Ministry of Health, Dr. Iwara Iwara confirmed that diarrhoea, cholera and dehydration were responsible and that government and international health organisations had intervened. In another local government area of Obanliku, Imong Davies, a concerned youth leader in Becheve community, said lack of water has really affected them. "The dry season has come to compound our situation. Our water sources, such as streams and falling water from the rocks have reduced. We are told that it is not just the dry season but the impact of climate change. "We trek far distances to fetch water. Of much concern is our elderly ones who also have to join in the search for water," he lamented. In the forest community of Buanchor, in Boki LGA, where there is the Drill Monkey Ranch, the village head, HRH Otu Douglas Owan said, "We don't have safe water. Since 2012 when there was a massive volcanic eruption which devastated our community, our sources of water supply from rocks were affected, including streams. Now there's only one small stream, serving 10,000 locals. You need to see how we queue to fetch drinking water from there." Commissioner for rural transformation and development, Effiom Okokon said that at a particular local government where he went for oversight functions, he had to intervene by helping an old woman travel several kilometres on foot to fetch water from a small pond. "I had to do that because the woman was too old to pass through such risk and stress and for me to experience what it is to go through such a situation," he noted. However, the State government has stepped in to help checkmate the increasingly debilitating effects on the people. In spite of the difficult and rocky terrain, they have sunk solar-powered boreholes in much of the Cross River North, so that the people can have access to potable water. And livestock can equally survive. So far, the commissioner disclosed that they have sunk, at least, 25 boreholes. "We are sinking two boreholes in each ward of the Cross River northern district, costing well over N17 million. And these are all solar-powered. "Due to rocky topography and the dry season, we drilled as deep as 600 metres before we could access water. "The intention is to create other water sources for our people in the affected local government areas of northern Cross River State since our streams and ponds have all dried up as a result of the dry season. These boreholes which are more than 25 will supply water round the clock since we won't depend on fuel," he assured. Okokon said that his Ministrys mandate is to turn rural communities to semi-urban towns by providing the most essential needs. He said government intervention began with the Ipong area of Obudu, where infrastructure and other social amenities were provided to the four communities that make up Ipong. He also said similar interventions are going on in many other LGs simultaneously.