Asaba - The Delta Government on Sunday refuted a report that corpses were washed away from the mortuary of General Hospital, Patani, by a flood and described a the report as false and mischievous.
The government said in a statement that although Patani was one of the communities affected by the flood in the state, only the entrance of the hospital was flooded.
The statement, signed by the Commissioner for Information in the state, Mr Chike Ogeah, described the report on the flooding of hospital morgue as false.
"At the onset of the flood, commissioners and public office holders were deployed to their areas of origin to monitor and coordinate relief efforts at the instance of Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, Governor of Delta.
"In line with the directive, Mr. Timi Tonye, Commissioner for Special Duties, who hails from Patani Local Government Area, has virtually been living in the area since the onset of the floods.
"He has remained on ground and has been coordinating relief efforts. The report gave the impression that there was a fresh surge of floods in the Patani area and this is far from the truth.
"On the contrary, the floods have been receding in the past two weeks as the Delta State Government gears up for the second phase of the flood management – rebuilding the affected areas.
"Mr Tonye, who oversees the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Commission (DESOPADEC), has attested to the fact that the morgue in Patani, which services and those of other sections of the hospital are a gradually resuming, was never flooded," the statement said.
It added that the Commissioner for Health, Dr Joseph Otumara, had been actively involved in the management of the flood through the provision of requisite medical services in the displaced people’s camps.
"At the peak of the floods, no such report was lodged nor did any resident of Patani or any part of the state complain about the washing of dead bodies off any mortuary.
"And at no time were the entire premises of the General Hospital, Patani, overrun by flood. Rather, the road leading to the hospital and the Doctors’ Quarters were the only flooded areas.
"The main hospital compound was not affected and in effect, the morgue and other critical service areas were not flooded.
"The mortuary attendant at the hospital, Mr. Kenny Edios, confirmed that the hospital was evacuated due to the flooding of the access road and Doctors’ Quarters.
"Mr Edios made it clear that two elderly people that passed on at the peak of the flood were embalmed and deposited at the morgue in Patani General Hospital.
"He also confirmed that there were 42 bodies at the morgue of the hospital before the floods and the bodies are all accounted for and none had to be relocated," it said.
The statement said that "in putting the records straight, we are not suggesting that there are no health challenges in the aftermath of the flood. The health challenges are still enormous.
"We also acknowledge the fact that our people have displayed uncommon valour and improvisation as they sought to cope with the ravaging floods.
"The Government of Delta has provided and continues to provide adequate relief and basic facilities for all internally displaced persons.
"We immensely appreciate the cooperation of the press, which have partnered with the state government in the management of the floods. We are only urging them to remain steadfast in crosschecking whatever information they come across," it said.