Bayelsa govt. seeks FG assistance for flood victims

By Chris Ezeonoh

Bayelsa State Government has solicited the assistance of the federal government towards alleviating the sufferings of flood victims in the state.

Chairman of the State Task Force on Flood Mitigation and Management, who also doubles as Commissioner for Environment, Iselema Gbaranbiri made the call at the weekend at the end of an on-the-spot assessment of the impact of flooding in communities in the state.

Communities visited were in Yenagoa and Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Areas. They include Tombia-Ekpetiama, Odi, Sampou, Kaiama, Gbaranma Sabagreia, Okoloba, Biseni and neighbouring communities as well as some areas within the Yenagoa metropolis.

The commissioner lamented the impact of the flooding in Biseni community, which he said was almost totally submerged.

Gbaranbiri sympathized with the people of the area on behalf of the Governor, whom he said was passionate about their well-being hence the setting up of the task force on flood mitigation on Wednesday during the state executive council meeting.

On the situation in parts of Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA such as Odi and Sampou, Gbaranbiri said both communities were relatively safe at the moment due to the water barrier built by the government while areas like Gbarama, Sabagreia, Okoloba and Kaiama were heavily impacted with institutions such as the Ijaw National Academy, the Girls Secondary School in Kaiama and the Bayelsa State Sports Institute at Asoama flooded.

The Environment Commissioner explained that the essence of the on-the-spot assessment was to get first-hand information about the situation and identify areas of need for government to provide succour to the people.

He stated that other local government areas would be visited adding that succour would be provided for those affected in form of building of higher grounds, provision of relief materials and medicals.

Also speaking, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Moses Teibowei, said the concrete water barrier built in three communities was a pilot project based on the advice of his ministry.

He noted that the trial water barrier has proved to be effective so far, saying the government was still monitoring its effectiveness.

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He assured that a decision will be taken by the government to replicate them in other communities and possibly improve on them.

Teibowei stated that the state government also implemented a home-grown technology in parts of Yenagoa such as the Epie creek in Okutukutu area, which has prevented the area and parts of Opolo from flooding so far.

He said a similar measure would be replicated around Yenagoa, Obele, the Law School at Agudama and other parts of Yenagoa.

He expressed optimism that by the time the home-grown technology, which has been implemented in parts of Yenagoa metropolis, was fully implemented, the issue of flooding would be mitigated in the state.

Also, the Director of Operations, Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency (BYSEMA), Mr Ayii Aziowei, sympathized with those affected, stating that the government would do its best to provide relief for victims.

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