An environmental expert and Head, Climate Change Education and Action Programme, Elochukwu Ezenekwe, has said that Anambra State remains the worst hit by climate change in Africa.
Ezenekwe also stated that Anambra had suffered the worst damage from climate change impacts in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.
The environmental expert, reputed as Africa’s foremost climate change expert, stated this on Thursday during an enlightenment/education session at the Government House, Awka, the Anambra State capital.
The programme was facilitated by the Peace Advocacy and Sustainable Development Outreach and aimed at galvanising climate action by educating stakeholders and actors at the community, local, state, national and international levels.
While calling for an urgent need to declare a climate change emergency, he said Anambra State is suffering from flooding and is also the headquarters of gully erosion in Africa.
He said, “Climate change hits us in Africa through various extreme weather and climate-related events that include drought, flooding and gully erosion. Drought and desertification are the least destructive and easiest to manage.
“Flooding is more destructive but usually allows for recovery of houses and properties when the waters recede.
“But for gully erosion, the damage is comprehensive and total. Be it classrooms, community health centres, houses, crops, farmlands, roads, electricity infrastructure, livelihoods and all, everything collapses into the very deep gullies and nothing is recovered.
“Anambra State suffers from flooding and is also the headquarters of gully erosion in Africa, hence there is need to prioritise or even outrightly declare a climate change emergency in the state.”
He urged the state government to take needed steps to start earning income from the carbon credit and emissions trading opportunities presented by the large scale tree planting programme as well as the massive evacuation and treatment of wastes being undertaken by the current administration.
Reacting to the lecture, the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Anambra State, Mr Ernest Ezeajughi, commended the climate expert and the non-governmental organisation for embarking on the noble work of enlightening the government on the challenges and inherent opportunities that could be explored.