Bayelsa Floods Overwhelming, We Need Help, Says Gov Diri

…..Directs One-Week Stay-At-Home For Civil Servants

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said the flooding in the state was overwhelming and beyond what the government alone can handle.

The governor has, consequently, appealed for assistance from the federal government, local and international organisations as well as public-spirited individuals.

He made the appeal in a statewide radio and television broadcast on Tuesday.

According to him, the current flood has severely impacted lives and livelihoods, with nearly a million people in over 300 communities displaced and some deaths reported.

He stated that he had toured several of the ravaged communities and seen first hand the extent of the destruction.

He said: “Over the last few days, floods have overwhelmed our communities and severely impacted the lives and livelihood of our people. This is a natural disaster that has affected many other states of the federation to various degrees.

“I have toured several of our communities to see first hand the extent of destruction. Our experience has shown that the flood water empties into our state.

“From my personal assessment, the situation is dire. Nearly a million people in over 300 communities in the state have been internally displaced. Unfortunately, some deaths have been reported.

“The narrative is the same across Sagbama, Ekeremor, Southern Ijaw, Ogbia, Yenagoa, Nembe and Kolokuma Opokuma Local Government Areas. Businesses have been shut, properties lost and farm lands destroyed.

“Critical infrastructure like hospitals, roads, bridges and schools, including the state-owned Niger Delta University, Amassoma, the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri, and the University of Africa, Toru-Orua, have been severely affected.

“Without exaggeration, the sheer scale of the devastation is not such that the state can handle on its own. We urgently solicit the support of multinationals, international donor agencies, the Red Cross, diplomatic missions and people of goodwill to come to the aid of our state.

“I appeal to Mr. President to consider special grants to the state from the Stabilization Funds, Ecological Funds and Natural Resources Fund.”

Diri lamented that the state had been severed from the rest of the country as portions of the East-West Road, which is the sole access to and from the state between Ughelli and Patani in Delta State as well as Okogbe and Ahoada in Rivers State, have collapsed.

He said economic hardship had set in as food, medical provisions, electricity and fuel supply were now in short supply and getting worse by the day.

The state helmsman, however, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for directing the different rescue and disaster management agencies to assist the state, and urged them to comply with the presidential directive expeditiously.

The governor announced that all civil servants, except those on essential duties, proceed on a one week break from work even as he appealed to vendors, particularly of fuel, food, water and pharmaceuticals not to exploit the situation.

He also stated that the state’s Task Force on Flood Mitigation and Management in liaison with the State Emergency Management Agency had established internally displaced persons (IDP) camps and providing relief materials and medical supplies for victims of the flood.

Diri cautioned officials in charge of the distribution of the relief materials to be non-partisan as the disaster knew no political party.

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