Bayelsa Flood: Ijaw groups task Diri on mitigation master plan
• Red Cross Distributes Relief Materials To Kogi Victims
Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has been urged to urgently make public a comprehensive master plan on how to provide a lasting solution to the perennial flooding, which has become an existential threat to the people of the state.
This demand was contained in a statement issued in Lagos, yesterday, by a Coalition of Ijaw Interest Groups, expressing dismay over the lackadaisical attitude of the government to its recommendations as well as the earlier reports presented to previous administrations on some steps that could be taken to address the menace of flood in the state in the aftermath of the 2018 unmitigated disaster.
Bayelsa State is one of the states severely affected by the recent flood disaster, which ravaged many communities in the country. While sending its sympathies to the communities and people affected by the disaster, the group berated Diri for the failure of his administration to respond to the earlier calls to put in place the necessary mitigation measures.
The release signed by the Secretary of the Ijaw Elders Forum (IEF), Pastor Efiye Bribena, on behalf of the Coalition, reads in part: “At the onset of the disastrous flood that ravaged Ijaw Land from September till November this year, this coalition of Ijaw Interest Groups wrote to the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri on October 21, 2022, with recommendations on some steps to take to address the flood disaster.
“Regrettably, we are yet to receive a response on this subject. People have died, properties have been lost and the impacted populations are still traumatised. Yet the government continues to demonstrate insensitivity to the plight of the people they are elected to govern. We therefore find it difficult to comprehend whose interest the state government represents if it cannot find time to attend to recommendations advanced to solve such an existential challenge.”
Consequently, the group charged the government to commence immediate deployment of emergency relief and rehabilitation in accordance with international humanitarian best practice, while also working on sustainable solutions to the recurring but manageable disaster.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) has flagged off the distribution of relief materials to 1,350 victims of flood disaster in Kogi State.
Secretary-General of NRCS, who flagged off the distribution of the relief items at Budon community in Lokoja council of the state, last Thursday, said the gesture was aimed at alleviating the sufferings of the victims.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 1,350 flood victims selected across three local councils of Lokoja, Ibaji and Kogi would benefit from the donation.
The Kogi beneficiaries were reportedly among the targeted 500,000 most affected people spread across 22 states in the country by the society.
Kende explained that the 500,000 beneficiaries were the most affected victims identified and selected across the country based on prescribed criteria developed with the members of the communities.
“In Kogi, 150 households in Budon community, majority of who are aged and vulnerable will be given the relief items.
“Among the beneficiaries in Budon community is a 22-year old Aliyu Sidi who lost his father and mother to the flood disaster.
“By our arrangement, each of the victims will receive 25kg of rice, 30kg of gari, 30kg of beans, five-litre of palm oil and 25-litre of jerrycan for water storage.
“Needs assessment conducted showed that the most affected persons listed these items as being their priority needs before a registration, using prescribed selection criteria developed with the members of the communities,” he said.