Flood: Bayelsans Count Their Losses
As government begins technical study to tackle Impact
It is no longer news that the 2020 flood have added to the economic misfortunes of the people of Bayelsa in particular and Niger Delta in general.Narrating their plights Persons displaced by the perennial flooding in Bayelsa State have complained about the inability of the state government to provide Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps for the Flood Victims in the state or provide relief materials to assuage the suffering of the affected persons.
Some of the displaced persons who spoke with newsmen at the week end during an assessment tour to some flooded communities in the state, said most of the displaced persons who could not afford the cost of paying for hotel bills or rent a new apartments are now taking shelter by the roadside.
The state government had on previous years provides accommodations to house Flood Victims until the water recede, but this year, there is no such provision anywhere in the state.
Mrs Eneye Unity, a 57 year-old displaced person in Akenfa 1 community in Yenagoa Local Government said she and her 78 year-old husband and six children are now staying in a small space provided by a public spirited person after flood had sacked them from their homes over one month ago.
She said: “It’s about one month and a week since water took over our home, our property destroyed, and we were helpless until a somebody, helped us with accommodation where my six children are staying now, while my age husband is staying at another good Samaritan’s house.
“So we survived this disaster by the grace of God, no help from the government at the moment, but we still believe in God that government will do something about our plights.” He said.
Another IDP in Igbogene community, Mr Henry Commissioner, said the flood have taken over his house and business place, and he sleeps by the small tent raised at the pavement of the road.
He said: “As I’m talking to you, I don’t have any alternative place to sleep except this tent that see, we fold it during day time, we are happy that water have stand, it’s not flowing as it was about two weeks ago, which means that after now, it will begin to recede.
“Our sources of livelihoods have been taken away by flood waters and the suffering is too much this year because government has not done anything to help us like previous years that they will provide IDPs camps, gives medical and relief materials, but we have not seen anything this year.
“The type of cool and mosquito bites we experience for sleeping outside is enough for somebody to fall sick, but we don’t get help from anywhere, that is why we are pleading with government to help us alleviate this suffering.” He said. Another respondent, who pleaded anonymity who narrated his pathetic ordeals on behalf of his community” farming is our predominant occupation in Bayelsa state.Both women and men here are into farming .It is our source of livelihood.
Many are into subsistence farming ,while others are into commercial farming mainly food crops like cassava,sweet potatoes ,plantain, banana.Few people are into mechanise agriculture where they have poultries , fish ponds and other agro allied ventures.
Many of us usually take loans with high interest rates from cooperative societies, micro finance banks to do farming every year .After investment on the farming enterprises we always meet loss at the end of the year due to the perennial flooding. All our farmlands we suffered to plant were swept away by the flood,hence we are hugely indebted .That is why are calling on National Emergency Management Agency and Bayelsa state Emergency Agency to quickly come to our aid.
We normally hear of NEMA ,s supports to farmers affected by flooding in the North and we want such benefits to be extended to us”Also speaking, an angry youth, who simply introduced himself as Preye said ” My blame also goes to our representatives in government.
These agricultural loans are readily available in every farming period in the country, when the Northern representatives usually disclose their own to those that need them our own will give their own to their loyalists and pocket the rest” “For instance, as a young graduate l decided to venture into agriculture in absence of white collar jobs and borrowed money to start , but look at what the flood has led me into now.
This is why those of our representatives in government should show us the way on how to access the government agricultural loans that are released to support farmers every year,but the capital to start is not available to us “” Outside farming business, there are many flood victims in Bayelsa state. No Internally Displaced Persons ,IDP camps and no relief materials from governments for those victims as we speak .Thses are activities of government that are infuriating the anger of the youths to embark on protests”
Reacting to the people’s complaints, the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Mr Ayibaina Duba said the state government led by Senator Douye Diri has adopted scientific approach to proffer lasting solution to the perennial flooding in the state due to its topography , stressing that with an inaugurated study by technical experts to nip in the bud the yearly suffering of impacted communities during flooding season in the state.
He also stated that the present administration has decided to tackle the challenges of massive flooding in a permanent form that would stand the test of time as against ad – hock approaches every year, hence the call for researches for the science based solution approach that would advise researchers from the Niger University,Wilberforce Island to establish an Institute of Flood and Erosion to specifically train man -power in the field of engineering, Survey as well as environmentalists to proffer lasting solutions to mitigate the perennial flooding.
He said the State Executive Council has raised a committee headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Konbowei Benson to assess the impacts of the flood on the people and advise the government on the next action.