he members of Mothers' Union of the Anglican Diocese of Nnewi, Anambra State, Nigeria, took time to pray extensively at the Diocesan Women's Prayer Conference held at St. Andrew's Church (DCC), Nnewi, on 9th February, 2013, that God would give enough rain, but at the same time the rain would not be as much, heavy and violent as the previous one which caused devastating flood in many parts of the world in year 2012.
The flood was so disastrous in the year 2012. It displaced many homes; and disorganized the business activities in some quarters. People really suffered the devastating or terrible consequences of the havoc caused by the flood. The flood was attributed to the global climate change. Few months ago, we read in the newspaper that the technical committee set up by the Delta State government over last year's devastating flood in the state recommended steps to ameliorate the plight of victims as another rainy season beckons. The first rain of this year 2013 wrecked havoc in Owo, Ondo State in late January, destroying over 200 houses, felled electric poles, and displaced over 5,000 persons.
Apart from the international scenes of the flood made known to many people through media agencies, local televisions and other media houses equally explored the damages and effects of flood in many States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, following the flood caused by the River Niger, which overflowed its bank and swept away nearby communities. There were many who narrowly escaped death when their buildings collapsed, while some were drowned in the flood. Others who were rescued by villagers received treatment in the hospitals. Hundreds of people were displaced and squatted in friend's homes, churches, schools, and other places. At a time the flood showed no sign of abating, and many Nigerians were afraid of what next would happen should the flood increase from its level.
At that time people commended the effort of the members of National Assembly who showed concern over the flood issues. Some of their steps at both national and constituency level were appreciated by the masses. Independent bodies or non-governmental organizations did their best in campaigning for help for the victims of flooded areas in our country. Some religious bodies embarked on charity works in addition to sincere prayers for the families affected by the outrageous flood. Many churches took time to pray and fast for divine intervention in the regions affected by the flood.
At the initial stage the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Nnewi mobilized the clergymen and other church workers to continue in intercessory prayers during church services for the flooded areas. Some Christian denominations including Roman Catholic, Anglican Dioceses and other denominations encouraged their churches to embark on prayers. As the case continued, intervention came from the Government of Anambra State for the areas affected within Anambra State. The Governor, His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi made provisions for shelter, and thus, many camps were allocated in various strategic zones to provide succor for the homeless families within the State.
Meanwhile, the Rt. Rev. Prof. G. I. N. Okpala and his wife, Mrs. Eugenia Okpala took the women of Nnewi Anglican Diocese to the locations where victims were quartered. The women went with adequate charitable materials including food and clothing, which were distributed in all the camps.
The victims were encouraged by the genuine compassion and attention shown to them by people from various angles. Both the old and young among the flood affected people expressed feelings of gratitude and satisfaction towards the concerns of the people for them. Frankly speaking, Nnewi Anglican Diocesan Women's visit was so remarkable, because of the way it was organized. From Parishes to the Archdeaconry level, people donated clothes and so many other goods to support the flood victims.
More than 15 vehicles were engaged for the visit to all the camps. The big lorries conveyed the big containers of cooked food, newly purchased wrappers, toiletries and other necessary ingredients for human survivals. The eight camps in Anambra State visited by the Diocesan women are listed as follows: Ogbaru Camp, General Hospital, Umuleri, Unity School, Umuoba, St. Joseph Church, Aguleri, New Bethel School, Onitsha, St. Barths Church, Ozubulu, and Ihiala Camp.
The Governor assigned Coordinators in each of the zones to monitor the activities in all the camps. As women responded and came out en masse, members of Mothers' Union and Women's Guild were divided according to the number of refugee camps in Anambra State. At one of the camps in Onitsha, we met Senator Emmanuel Anosike with his team of medical doctors attending to the flood victims. He made adequate provisions of drugs, and mobilized doctors and nurses who took care of the patience. Those few women who addressed the flood victims while handing over all the goods which were brought to them, equally appreciated Senator Emmanuel Anosike for his concern and contribution in his constituency.
The Bishop's wife of Nnewi, Mrs. Eugenia Okpala, while granting answer to some of the journalists who interviewed her during the trip, said that "those people affected by the natural disaster are our brethren and friends". She further remarked that "we must understand that the flood victims are in need of our support now that they are helpless". The woman is known as a compassionate mother. She does not hesitate in finding solution to the problem whenever she hears cry from people. She regularly visits motherless babies' homes, prisons inmates, etc. Even Nigerian Police Stations have so much benefited from her philanthropic way of life.
As the case may be, women of Nnewi Diocese are known for charitable works. She has so much influenced the women on selfless services. She has even taken the Diocesan Women on evangelistic outreach to the Diocese of Ikwo, as well as the Diocese of Ngbo, both dioceses are in Ebonyi State. Recent analysis indicates that she spent over N4 million on charitable work and evangelism. Mrs. Eugenia Okpala is known for one thing more than anything else: charitable work.
Prof. Herbert Eze can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org