Residents of Kilama, Tein, Tambiri, Egbebiri communities in Biseni in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa rendered homeless by rainstorm, have appealed for government assistance to amelioriate their sufferings.
Newsmen report that the storm blew off the roofs of over 70 houses, five churches and three schools on March 5 and destroyed electric poles, disrupting power supply to the area.
The Paramount ruler of Kilama, Chief Difference Nemiya, who narrated the ordeal of the residents to newsmen said that crops and economic trees were also destroyed.
“This natural disaster is the worst I have witnessed in this community.
“As we speak, we are still counting our losses and the community is in an emergency situation.
“The community is in dire need as some of the victims who lost their houses and have moved to squat with relatives.
“However, most of the displaced people have nowhere to go and we need emergency help from relevant government agencies to bring relief and succour to them,” Nemiya said.
Mr Godhelp Okorobia, one of the victims, told newsmen that the storm wreaked havoc both to his father’s house and his own house, sacking seven of his tenants.
We were at a meeting when the weather changed and the windstorm started.
“The roof of my father’s house which is near our meeting venue, was blown away and it landed in a different location.
“When I got home, I saw my own house in ruins,” Okorobia said.
Another victim, Mrs May Zuku, a 75-year-old widow, said that the disaster, which happened within two weeks of her husband’s demise, was too much grief for her to bear.
She appealed to the Yenagoa Local Government, Bayelsa Government and public-spirited individuals for assistance to rehabilitate her husband’s house destroyed by the storm.
Also, Mr Lawrence Beneth, the Deputy Paramount ruler in Kilama, who lost part of his roof, appealed for relief materials to be distributed to the affected members of his community.
He said that Hon. Gentle Emela and Hon. Douye Diri, lawmakers representing the area in the state House of Assembly and the House of Representatives, had visited the area and pledged to mobilise support for the victims.
Meanwhile, Dr Zedekiah Isu, the Chairman, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), said that the agency had also commenced an assessment of the damage in the affected communities.
Isu, who spoke through the Agency’s Head of Administration Department, Mr Torukuru Adakien, said the assessment was to ascertain the level of the disaster and the needs of the victims.
“Yes, the agency has started to do something to assist the victims but we started today with an assessment.”
“This is the first stage of assessment on the incident, after which, we will make a report to the state and Federal Government for necessary assistance to the victims,” he said.