The Nigeria government must mobilise national assets for immediate rescue operations across over 300 affected communities in Bayelsa.
Not responding promptly to trapped and displaced residents facing acute food and fuel shortages may put thousands in dire straits.
The Bayelsa State government on Saturday annouced that “no fewer than 300 communities and villages have either been totally or partially submerged by flooding in the state.”
It also stated that “about 700,000 persons have either been displaced or affected by the flood.”
The state government expressed the concern that the impact of this year’s flooding might result in a humanitarian crisis.
While updating the media on updates about the committee’s interventions, the State Commissioner for Environment and chairman of the Task Force on Flood Mitigation and Management, Iselema Gbaranbiri said virtually all the communities and streets in Yenagoa Local Government Area have also been either submerged or partially flooded.
Communities in five other local government areas namely, Sagbama, Ekeremor, Ogbia, Kolokuma/Opokuma and Southern Ijaw were seriously affected by the flood, he explained.
Gbaranbiri said there had been reported cases of corpses being washed up at the cemetery in Asokoro, raising concerns of an impending health crisis.
He assured residents that the government was working round the clock to address the challenge of the current crisis– bring relief to distressed communities and displaced victims.
The Amassoma road leading to the Niger Delta University, which has been cut off at three points along the road has left commuters stranded.
The flood also cut off the East-West Road at the Delta State and the Rivers State axis thereby isolating the State from other parts of the county.
While on his on-the-spot assessment tour to Southern Ijaw Local Government Area and other communities in Yenagoa Local Government Area on Friday, Governor Diri restated his proposal for a post-flood management roundtable between worst-hit states and the Federal Government.
He said such engagements become necessary due to the infrastructure damage and the number of state resources deployed in tackling the flood menace.
Diri said the unfortunate incident would prevent the resumption of lectures at the university now that the Academic Staff Union of Universities has called off its eight-month-old strike.
“I have already thought out a line of action. Post-flood mitigation is very important to us at this time. The post-flood period will be about our destroyed infrastructure, particularly roads.
“On Thursday, we saw the road leading to Sagbama from Ekeremor had been badly damaged by the flood. Now, the road from Yenagoa to Amassoma, where you have the Niger Delta University has collapsed in three areas. So, even with the ASUU calling off its strike, the university cannot resume. That is what I have been talking about the peculiarity of Bayelsa State and our Niger Delta environment.
“It will cost the state billions of naira before those roads would be repaired. Also, there are individual losses in terms of houses that have collapsed as a result of the flood and the deaths we have witnessed.
“In post-flood management, the Federal Government has to sit with the states to look for a lasting and permanent solution. One such solution is the construction of a dam so when water is released from wherever we should be able to contain it in Nigeria,” he lamented.
Diri also visited a camp for internally displaced persons provided by Abel Ebifemowei along the Yenagoa-Amassoma road, Igbedi community and the Agudama-Ekpetiama road.
He went on to the School of Nursing and Basic Midwifery in Tombia, Alamieyeseigha Road, Opolo, the Oxbow Lake Pavilion and the State Assembly Quarters, Azikoro.