NIGERIA FLOODS: PETER OBI VISITS BAYELSA, LAMENTS DESTRUCTION, ASKS FG AND DONOR AGENCIES TO MPSUPPORT
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi and the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, have called on the federal government and other donor agencies to quickly come to the aid of the state as the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) ravaged by flood swells daily in the state.
The duo lamented the havoc and destruction caused by the rampaging flooding which is yet to recede, saying that no state can handle both the humanitarian and infrastructural effects of the flood.
Obi who came into Yenagoa with a chopper was received at the Government House before proceeding to the IDP camp at Ox-Bow Lake to identify with the over 4,000 men, women and children who are victims of the flooding.
Obi, who was in the state to offer his sympathy and support to the state government and the victims of the ravaging flood while speaking at the IDP camp, lamented the destruction and large numbers of out-of-school children that are now in the camps.
“I came in through the air and I saw the impact of the flood. I have been to other places, and I have never seen this kind of destruction. The federal government needs to declare an emergency in Bayelsa State. No state can cope with such a disaster on its own. I also appeal to the international community and donor agencies to support the affected states. Here in Bayelsa, we need help. This destruction is unimaginable.”
The governor, who thanked the presidential hopeful for his show of support, also called on the federal government and other well-meaning organisations and individuals to join the state government in providing succour to the flood victims.
“The people you see here are those whose houses, farmlands, and fish farms have all been occupied by flood and so 99 per cent of Bayelsans are living as internally displaced persons. Thank God you flew and you have seen for yourselves how Bayelsans are living in inhuman conditions.
“While Mr. President has given us hope, I want to thank you for still joining me to call on the federal government to show more empathy, to show love to the people of Bayelsa State from where oil and gas flow in this country.”
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Environment and Chairman of Bayelsa State Flood Mitigation Committee, Mr. Iselema Gbaranbiri, said despite the present challenges, the state is committed to providing comfort for citizens who are at the various IDP camps established to accommodate victims of the unprecedented flood.
He said the flood had so far ravaged over 300 communities and rendered 700,000. individuals including; children, women and the aged, homeless.
Gbaranbiri disclosed that more than 4,000 flood-displaced individuals are being camped at the Oxbow Lake camp alone adding that: “Whatever we are doing here, is being replicated at the Igbogene camp and other camps.”
“Medical services have been provided. We are providing food and we have our sanitation unit that is cleaning the camp daily. We ensure that there is lighting.
“The government of Senator Douye Diri is passionate about the people and we have an obligation to stand for them in times of crises and challenges.”
The environment commissioner added that relief materials, including food items, have also been distributed and the second phase of distribution will soon take place.
According to him, mobile clinics are going around the state to attend to medical emergencies.
He called on relevant federal agencies to hasten the implementation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise and come to the aid of the victims.
Also speaking the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information Orientation and Strategy, Hon. Ayibaina Duba also called on the federal government to take urgent steps to prevent future floods by building dams and dredging the River Niger to contain whatever comes from the Cameroon dam whenever it occurs.