Flooding: Bayelsa Residents Urge More Govt. Efforts Toward Mitigation


Some residents of Bayelsa have called on the state government to intensify efforts toward the mitigation of the impact of the imminent flood disaster in the state.


The people made the call in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa on Sunday.


Their call followed the warning by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) of possible flooding in some states of the Federation, including Bayelsa between September and November.


Mr Ezekiel Ogbianko, Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Bayelsa chapter, said there was need for the state government to be more vigorous in its sensitisation campaign on the disaster.


Ogbianko said that the campaign should be continuous and more intense, especially in the coastal communities of the state.


He said: “the rural communities will be the most affected and this is the area inhabited by poor farmers; so, government should extend the sensitisation campaign to these places.


Mr Kelvin Peregba, a farmer, who resides in Ovom, Yenagoa Local Government Area, also urged government to carry the campaign to the rural areas.


Peregba said that those living in the coastal towns were still ignorant of the flood alert and the risk.


“The Federal and state governments should intensify efforts in educating the public; let the agents go down to the rural communities where the larger population lives.


“I must say that the effect of the 2012 flood would have been minimal if citizens had been adequately sensitised.


“This time, the campaign should not focus mainly on the capital cities. It should be taken to the markets, schools, churches, public places in the rural communities.


“They should tell our people what to do; the people need to know the signs and accurate steps to take to avert the danger when it comes,” Peregba said.


Mrs Keme Jackson, however, said that she was aware of the recent flood alert, but that the rural people had yet to be educated on what do in the event of the imminent disaster.


“The rural people can be reached through the community leaders, who will sensitise them in their various wards in the language they understand.


“What we really need is how to save ourselves if the weather becomes so adverse and when the wind can blow off the roofs of our houses and when the flood is around the corner,’’ Jackson said.


NAN recalls that NEMA in collaboration with the Bayelsa Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), embarked on sensitisation campaign on flooding in the state on Aug. 20.


Mr Torukuru Adakien, Head of Administration, SEMA, however told NAN that the campaign was on going and would get to all communities in the state in the shortest possible time.


“We have also prepared the Internal Displaced Person (IDP) camps in the eight local government areas in the state,” Adakien said. (NAN)

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