The Lagos State Government on Thursday said recovery efforts at Kuramo Beach, to find the remaining victims of the ocean surge that swept away 16 people last Saturday, were still continuing.
General Manager of the state Emergency Management Agency, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, faulted reports that the search had been abandoned by the state. He added that government was not in the habit of abandoning its citizens in time of disaster.
Oke-Osanyintolu said, “Contrary to reports, LASEMA has not abandoned the remaining missing victims. Search and recovery efforts are still on to uncover the whereabouts of other victims.
“Apart from the efforts by the state government emergency apparatus, the local emergency committee of the Iru/Victoria Island Local Council Development Area has also embarked on frantic search for the victims. Our men are still on the ground.”
He said the fact that LASEMA team was no longer on the beach did not mean rescue efforts had been abandoned, adding that there were people at local government level whose job is to respond to emergency needs.
He said, “We should not personalise emergency management. It should not mean that if LASEMA or its Chief Executive Officer is not on the ground, emergency response team was not on site working.”
He said the essence of inaugurating emergency management committees in all the LGs in the state was to involve the grass roots in disaster management. “The Chairman of the LCDA and other members of the emergency management committees have been on ground since the surge occurred,” Oke-Osanyintolu said.
He added that the government had involved local divers and other stakeholders in the recovery efforts at Kuramo Beach, while LASEMA was coordinating the search efforts.
He said the government would not stop the recovery effort until all missing bodies were found by emergency response workers. No fewer than six of the initial 16 people declared missing were still missing as of Thursday. The 10 bodies that were discovered had been handed over to their families for burial.