By JIMITOTA ONOYUME & BRIGHT OGUNKILEDE
PORT HARCOURT — RIVERS State Government has called on residents of the five flood prone local government areas in the state to identify higher grounds in their councils to be used as muster points for evacuation, in the event of severe flooding.
Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr. Dickson Umunakwe, said the call was informed by the 2013 imminent flood prediction by the National Metrological Agency, NIMET and the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA.
Umunakwe at a flood sensitisation programme in Abua/Odual and Ogba/ Egbema/ Ndoni Local Government Area secretariat, said early preparation will help minimise the problems associated with flood challenges.
He identified clogging of drainage with refuse, building over drainages and erecting structures on shorelines as the major causes of flooding, noting that these factors hinder the smooth flow of water and warned against such practices.
Umunakwe said that the government would deploy six flying boats to each of the five prone councils for quick evacuation, adding that a marine ambulance would be stationed at the Orashi River in Ahoada West Local Government Area of the state.
He said: “The former camp sites used last year will be better equipped and we will also partner relevant ministries, including Power, Water, Health, Environment and Housing, which will provide the needed facilities to cater for the needs of the flood victims at the camps.”
….As Bayelsa builds shelters for displaced victims
By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa — Bayelsa State Government has commenced the building of shelters in the eight local government areas of the state in anticipation of the predicted heavy rainfall and its attendant flooding in the coastal states by the Nigeria Metrological Agency NIMET.
Already, Governor Seriake Dickson, it was learnt, had released the sum of N500 million to the state infrastructural advisory committee for the proposed shelters in the rural areas of the state.
The committee was set up in the aftermath of last year’s flood with a view to avoiding a repeat of the near humanitarian crisis that rocked the state.
The building shelters, Vanguard learnt, is to prevent a repeat of the use of public institutions such as schools and the sport complexes for displaced persons as witnessed last year.
Hundreds of thousands of families were displaced across the state during last year’s flood with majority of the victims moved to Yenagoa and quartered in schools, which were hurriedly converted to camp the internally displaced persons, a development that forced the government to close all schools in the state.
Given the low nature of the state topography, Vangurd learnt that the shelters are to be sited in areas considered as high grounds so as not to be submerged in the event of high flood.
The governor had described the last year flood as a natural calamity, lamenting that Bayelsa is a flood plan state where heavy rains always causes havoc to the residents.
“We shall take the issue of flooding very seriously to savee our communities and people,” the governor had said.
A source told Vanguard that the construction of shelters in the councils by the current administration was based on the weather forecast for 2013 and in view of what the state suffered during last year flood.