*Promises Succour For Victims
The Bayelsa State Task Force on Flood Mitigation and Management, at the weekend, visited some affected communities for an on-the-spot assessment of the impact.
Communities visited in Yenagoa and Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Areas included Tombia-Ekpetiama, Odi, Sampou, Kaiama, Gbaranma Sabagreia, Okoloba, Biseni and neighbouring communities as well as some areas within the Yenagoa metropolis.
Speaking after the exercise, the Commissioner for Environment and chairman of the task force, Iselema Gbaranbiri, lamented the impact of the flooding in Biseni community, which he said was almost totally submerged.
Gbaranbiri sympathised with people of the area on behalf of the Governor, who he said was passionate about their wellbeing hence the setting up of the task force on flood mitigation on Wednesday during the state executive council meeting.
On the situation in parts of Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA such as Odi and Sampou, Gbaranbiri said both communities were relatively safe at the moment due to the water barrier built by the government while areas like Gbarama, Sabagreia, Okoloba and Kaiama were heavily impacted with institutions such as the Ijaw National Academy, the Girls Secondary School in Kaiama and the Bayelsa State Sports Institute at Asoama flooded.
The Environment Commissioner explained that the essence of the on-the-spot assessment was to get first-hand information about the situation and identify areas of need for government to provide succour to the people.
While calling on the Federal Government to assist the state government in alleviating the sufferings of victims, he stated that other local governments areas will be visited and that succour would be provided for those affected in form of building of higher grounds, provision of relief materials and medicals.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Moses Teibowei, said the concrete water barrier built in three communities was a pilot project based on the advice of his ministry.
He noted that the trial water barrier has proved to be effective so far, saying government was still monitoring its effectiveness.
He assured that a decision will be taken by the government to replicate them in other communities and possibly improve on them.
Teibowei stated that the state government also implemented a home-grown technology in parts of Yenagoa such as the Epie creek in Okutukutu area, which has prevented the area and parts of Opolo from being flooding so far.
He said a similar measure will be replicated around down Yenagoa, Obele, the Law School at Agudama and other parts of Yenagoa.
He expressed optimism that by the time the home-grown technology, which has been implemented in parts of Yenagoa metropolis, was fully implemented, the issue of flooding will be mitigated in the state.
Also, the Director of Operations, Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency (BYSEMA), Mr. Ayii Aziowei, sympathsed with those affected, stating that the government would do its best to provide relief for victims.