Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday, admitted that the flood disaster that has submerged several communities in Bayelsa State was monumental.
Bayelsa State was initially not listed among the states the Federal Government had declared flood emergency until Governor Henry Seriake Dickson made a case for the state insisting that the state was worst hit.
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Osinbajo accompanied by Governor Dickson, the Minister of Environment, Alhaji Ibrahim Jibrin, Director General of National Emergency Management Agency, Mustapha Maihaja, Sen. Magnus Abe and former Governor of the State, Chief Timipre Sylva, undertook an aerial tour of farmlands, houses and communities in Bayelsa State devastated by the ravaging flood in the state
The Vice President, who disclosed that they were in the state at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari, expressed shock over the level of devastation of the disaster and pledged Federal Government’s support in the area of resettling the IDPs who have lost their homes and livelihoods.
His words, “You are obviously going through a lot of stress but despite that, you are still able to smile. On our way here, we overflow some of the communities affected by the flood.
“We saw so many areas affected by the flood, many homes, farmlands are under water. We saw clear that it is major disaster indeed.
“We were able to see that there is a major disaster in Bayelsa especially in Yenagoa. We express our sincere condolences to you. It’s a sad development.
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“We are glad we were able to respond as quickly as possible. We will support as much as possible with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) which is working hard to ensure that we give as much succour and provision of tents, mattresses, food, mosquito nets and all that are required.
“In the next few weeks, many will be returning home where many have lost their homes, farmlands and livelihoods. We will support Bayelsa state government in the resettlement efforts which are more important. In future, we want to be able to prevent this situation.
“It’s repeating itself in 2018 so steps need to be taken to dredge our rivers, stop dumping of solid waste into our water bodies, clear waterways and build canals, so that there will be no flooding.”
Also speaking, Governor Dickson commended the Vice President and his team for taking an aerial tour of the flood impacted areas of the state capital to see the extent of destruction.
Dickson had emphasised the need for the Federal Government and donor organizations to collaborate with the state in providing long term solutions to the perennial problem.
Governor Dickson, who expressed dismay over the initial omission of Bayelsa State in the list of flood affected states, urged the Federal Government to recognise the state as the most impacted state in the country as it was entirely below sea level.
“We are dealing with a flood disaster of monumental proportion. Let it be known at the centre that this is the state that is inevitably always most affected because of our peculiar terrain and topography.
“The entire state is below sea level so once there is any slight increase in water level from the rivers that are all around us, the whole of this state is submerged.”