….We’re facing humanitarian crisis, Diri cries out
…1300 displaced in Rivers community
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Bayelsa State government has expressed the concern that the impact of this year’s flooding might result in a humanitarian crisis.
The Commissioner for Environment and chairman of the state’s Task Force on Flood Mitigation and Management, Mr. Iselema Gbaranbiri, raised the concern on Saturday while giving an update on the committee’s activities.
He said no fewer than 300 communities and villages have either been totally or partially submerged in the state.
Gbaranbiri also disclosed that about 700,000 persons have either been displaced or affected by the flood.
He said virtually all the communities and streets in Yenagoa Local Government Area have also been either submerged or partially flooded.
Sundiata Post recalls that communities in five other local government areas namely Sagbama, Ekeremor, Ogbia, Kolokuma/Opokuma and Southern Ijaw are equally seriously affected by the flood.
The Environment Commissioner said there had been reported cases of corpses being washed up at the cemetery in Asokoro, raising concerns of an impending health crisis.
He, however, promised that the government would do its best to bring relief to victims of the flood as the committee was working round the clock to address the challenges of the current crisis.
On Friday, Governor Douye Diri restated his proposal for a post- flood management roundtable between worst-hit states and the Federal Government.
The governor said such discourse had become necessary due to the infrastructure damage and the amount of state resources deployed in tackling the flood menace.
He spoke as he continued his on-the-spot assessment tour to Southern Ijaw LGA and other communities in Yenagoa.
Areas visited included the Amassoma Road leading to the Niger Delta University (NDU), which has been cut off on three points along the road and left commuters stranded.
Diri said the unfortunate incident would prevent the resumption of lectures at the university now that the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) has called off its eight-month-old strike.
While lamenting the huge cost of fixing the damaged roads by his government, Diri stressed that individual losses of property and deaths would be minimal if a permanent solution was immediately adopted.
He stated: “I have already thought out a line of action. Post-flood mitigation is very important to us at this time. The post-flood period will be about our destroyed infrastructure, particularly roads.
“On Thursday, we saw the road leading to Sagbama from Ekeremor had been badly damaged by the flood. Now, the road from Yenagoa to Amassoma, where you have the Niger Delta University has collapsed in three areas. So, even with the ASUU calling off its strike, the university cannot resume. That is what I have been talking about the peculiarity of Bayelsa State and our Niger Delta environment.
“It will cost the state billions of naira before those roads would be repaired. Also, there are individual losses in terms of houses that have collapsed as a result of the flood and the deaths we have witnessed.
“In the post-flood management, the federal government has to sit with the states to look for a lasting and permanent solution. One of such solutions is the construction of a dam so when water is released from wherever, we should be able to contain it in Nigeria.”
1,300 displaced in Rivers community
Over 1,300 residents of Erema in Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State have been displaced by the ongoing raging flood.
The Erema Community Development Committee (CDC) Chairman, Ben Chilekwe, confirmed the development when the Rivers State Flood Committee inaugurated by Governor Nyesom Wike visited the area on Saturday.
The committee, which was on an assessment tour of the impacted local government areas, was shocked to see that the flood swallowed most of the buildings in the council.
Chilekwe said some of the victims were taking refuge at a camp for the internally displaced persons.
The Chairman of the committee and Permanent Secretary, Special Services Bureau, Dr. George Nwaeke, assured the victims that governor Wike was prepared to provide succour for them.
Addressing them, he said: “I want to tell you that the governor has heard your cries and made provisions to clean your tears. We sympathise with you and we have seen what is happening.”
Nwaeke commended the local government chairman of the area for establishing an IDP camp for the victims.
He said: “We have just come to see you, and we are going back now to come back with resources that will give you immediate succour.
“But before we do that, I will want this crowd to be properly profiled. We want to know the number of people that are here so that as we are planning, we plan with proper statistics.
He said in the next 22 hours, the committee would return with basic items such as food, adding that the environment would be cleaned to guarantee victims’ health.
He noted that the committee came with a mobile clinic to take care of the immediate health challenges of victims.
He said: “I want to assure you that the governor has done well for you. In a few hours’ time, say in the next 22 hours from now, we will be taking care of the immediate things, which will include food and cleaning the environment to give you good health.
“As we speak, we came with a mobile clinic that will take care of any immediate challenge. Our health officers are around, feel free to report through your councillors and other stakeholders so we know what is happening to you.
“I thank our governor for always identifying with his people. For always knowing the needs of his people and I can assure you very soon all these will be a thing of the past.”
Disaster forces PAP boss to cancel stakeholders’ engagement
The raging flood in Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta states has compelled the Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Maj.-Gen. Barry Ndiomu (retd), to indefinitely cancel his earlier scheduled stakeholders’ engagement.
Ndiomu confirmed that he was already on his way to the venue of the stakeholders’ meeting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, when he discovered that the flood had taken over the road to Bayelsa.
The PAP boss in a statement signed on Saturday by his Special Assistant, Media, Mr. Thomas Peretu, sympathised with victims of the flood across the Niger Delta.
Describing the disaster as sad, Ndiomu said it was pathetic that people had been displaced from their homes, farmlands and other sources of livelihood.
He said: “It’s a thing of deep regret and sympathy. I sympathise with the government and the good people of the affected states. We have all seen the very devastating effect of the floods. Roads settlements, and communities have been washed away. Quite a few have died in the process. It is most unfortunate, may their souls rest in perfect peace.
“We grieve with the families who have lost loved ones and I believe the government is doing something about it, we on our part will try within the limits of what we can provide to assist with relief materials as part of our corporate social responsibility to the people.
“Coincidentally, I am from Bayelsa State as well, so it is indeed a very sad moment for me. My people are involved in this. I feel bad but we will do the best we can to show support and ensure that some relief and succor comes to the people who are badly affected by this flood.
“The flood forced me to postpone our stakeholders’ engagement in Yenagoa. I am calling on interventionist agencies to up their game by making available more relief materials for the victims. They should also set up proper IDP camps”.
Ndiomu, who lamented that some of the PAP training centres in the region were also affected by the disaster, called on state governments in the region to close ranks and work together to mitigate the effect of the disaster and also prepare ahead of time for future occurrence.
Flood sacks Delta University, to reopen in two weeks
Ravaging flood has sacked the University of Science and Technology, Ozoro, Isoko North LGA of Delta State after many buildings were submerged.
Commissioner for Higher Education, Dr. Kingsley Ashibuogwu said the institution will be closed for a two-week period, adding that it was no longer safe for students to remain on campus.
According to him, the move was in the best interest and safety of students and workers in the university community.
He assured that academic activities would resume as soon as the flood recedes.
Faculties submerged are Administration and Management, Faculty of Computer Science, and Environmental Sciences.
Others include the Faculty of Agriculture, Mass Communication Studio, the University Health Centre, Library, Generator Plant House, Staff Club, as well as the administrative building of the university.(Nation)