Jonathan’s State Submerged by Flood
State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, said recently that the communities in the eight local government areas of the State are the most impacted among the 23 flooded states of the country, many thought it was an understatement. But the facts have shown a rising number of displaced persons and Submerged communities in the State with the seat of governance, the Creek Haven, facing the threat of being flooded and the governor relocated to another area for comfort.
While the minister of petroleum resources, an indigene of the state, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, attributed the magnitude of the Flood in the State to its geographical location, which places the State below sea level coupled with the fact that major rivers and tributaries empty into the Atlantic Ocean through the state, Governor Dickson described the Flood as a tragedy of monumental and unimaginable proportions.
Virtually all the communities along the river bank such as Sagbama,Adagbabiri, Peretorugbene, Agbere, Ofoni, Ayamasa, Sabagriea, Igbedi, Famgbe, Yenaka, Ogu, Fortorugbene, Agbura, Aguadama-Epetiama, Oporoma, Ndoro, Tombia, Peremabiri, Elemebiri, Asamabiri, Angalabiri, Opokuma, Odi, Kaiama, Biseni, Gbarantoru, Tombia Amassoma, Ekeremor among others have been submerged. All the six local governments were affected. Yenagoa, Sagbama, Ekeremor, Kolokuma/Opokuma and Ogbia, Southern Ijaw local covernment areas.The capital city of Yenagoa is gradually going under water.
Hon Dickson who informed the minister that the challenge ahead of the government is enormous as the ravaging Flood has created a crisis that has many dimensions, said that communication facilities and other public structures have all collapsed. The temporary camps set up to accommodate Flood victims, he observed, were being threatened by water and in the next couple of days, government would have no alternative than to resettle them. The governor added that government was already dealing with the issue of security of lives and property of the people coupled with shortage of food.
According to the governor, prices of food stuff have sky-rocketed due to the fact that parts of the East-West road have been Submerged and that as an aftermath of the flood, the State is likely to contend with famine. Governor Dickson, who appreciated the efforts of the federal government to address Flood across the country, added that he would accompany President Goodluck Jonathan to overfly the state.
The past few days have become very difficult for those outside and within the Bayelsa State capital. LEADERSHIP gathered that hundreds of market women conveying food stuffs and drivers attached to newspaper companies were among thousands of travellers stranded along the East-West road following the cutting off of the route by flood, causing food scarcity and the non-circulation of copies of newspapers on the streets of Yenagoa.
visited the damaged section of the East-West road close to Opume community in Delta state, witnessed a long queue of traffic on both sections of the damaged spot. It was observed that the loads of rocks reportedly offloaded on the spot by the construction giant, Setraco, has not made the desired effect. Some of the determined passengers had to wade through the rising Flood to cross the damaged spot. While some youths from the Flood ravaged communities are helping stranded passengers to cross to either sides of the road for a fee, others turned back to either Warri or Bayelsa end of the road. Motorists and pedestrians were said to have been prevented from accessing the State through the popular road that also links Port-Harcourt in Rivers state.
One of the drivers who identified himself as Francis, said the Flood swept away some vehicles on the road. “We couldn’t even get to Patani. When we got to Ughelli, there was a hold-up caused by a fallen trailer. Already, the water had covered the road. But as we were waiting, I saw some vehicles being swept away by the water. We were forced to retreat”, he said. It was learnt that the Ahoada axis of the road was gradually being taken over by the raging flood. The Niger Delta activist, Ankio Briggs, who went round the zone to assess the damage done to communities by the flood, expressed fears that Bayelsa was at the verge of isolation.
Briggs who spoke to our correspondent in Bayelsa State said, “The water is rising. Asaba is already overrun by the River Niger. From Ahoada, people are already carrying their load. The water has cut off Bayelsa from Patani angle already. Then Bayelsa is going to be cut off from Ahoada point. Already, Bayelsa is isolated”.
The displaced persons who were kept at the main camp at the Samson Siasia Stadium in the State capital, wept before the minister during her visit to some of the relief camps in Yenagoa, the State capital, to commiserate with the victims.
When the crowd of victims sighted the convoy of the minister, many of them including children, encircled her kneeling down - crying for assistance. One of the victims who identified herself as Pere James, said, though the State government has tried to assist the victims, the minister should complement the efforts to cushion the effects of the flooding. “Please, madam, help us, we are starving. Our homes are gone. Our children are suffering. Minister, your brothers and sisters are dying of hunger”, she said.
But the minister, who was moved to tears and in company of the State deputy governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd), said she has handed over some relief materials to the committee established by the government handling the disaster. The minister who spent about five minutes at the camp, told the victims that the committee would distribute the items at the appropriate time. The minister, whose paternal home in Yenaka, Yenagoa local government area, was submerged, left the area amidst tears from the victims.
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