Some coastal communities in Bayelsa State have been submerged by floods, Commissioner for Information and Orientation Daniel Iworiso-Markson said yesterday.
The commissioner, who spoke to reporters in Yenagoa, said the communities affected by the flood were increasing daily, insisting the state is in dire need of support from the Federal Government.
Iworiso-Markson decried delay in the release of fund to contain the floods since 2012, saying it would have helped to complement the state’s efforts to tackle flood.
While maintaining that Bayelsa has never benefited from Federal Government flood fund, the commissioner urged Bayelsans to be vigilant and make use of available call lines and report incidents in their areas.
The lawmaker representing Sagbama Constituency 3 in the House of Assembly, Salo Adikumo, said the worse hit communities were Asamabiri, Elemebiri, Ekperiware and Adagbabiri.
Adikumo said property worth millions of naira had been destroyed, and solicitied the intervention of the Federal Government through NEMA.
He appealed to other relevant federal agencies to come to the rescue of those affected as the state is doing its best.
Fed Govt approves N3bn to respond, mitigate disaster
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMATODE) has received N3 billion to respond to the looming flood disasters following a red alert issued on September 7 by the National Hydological Services Agency (NHISA).
Director-General Mr Mustapha Maihaji made the announcement in Abuja during a meeting of NEMA with stakeholders to assess the reports from the fact finding committees after visiting the flood prone states.
According to Maihaja, President Muhammadu Buhari approved N3billion for the first stages of preparedness, response disaster mitigation.
Maihaja said that the agency has immediately swung into action in case there are more worrying indications of a looming flood.
He said that reports from the fact finding committees are worrisome as some states including Niger, Kogi, Delta and Anambra have already started witnessing flooding.
“From the first response, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved up to N3 billion for the first response.
“We are here today to assess the already alarming situation, with declaration of red alert done on Sept. 7.
The declaration further culminated to the constitution of six committees that went round twelve States.
“NiMet has reported that from today to the next 72 hours, there would be continuous rain in the North, the Central and the Southern States of Nigeria.
“NHISA has reported also that today, the levels at the measuring stations, at the confluence of the Rivers Niger and Benue at Lokoja is 10.98 meters.
“This confirms that the volume is still increasing and with the threatening in flow at Lagdo Dam, with the level as at yesterday recorded at 21.4 meters when compared to the highest level.
“They will be forced to discharge at 21.6 meters that means we are left at 0.2 meters to get to that level and the continuous inflow makes it more worrisome,’’ Maihaja said.
Maihaja said that it was on that note that stakeholders under the coordination of NEMA have activated a National Contingency Plan, a policy document, which gives NEMA the power to establish operational structure.
The director general said that an operational structure has being put in place with a National Emergency Operational Centre domicile at the NEMA headquarters and five Zonal Emergency Operational Centres (EOC).
Maihaja said that EOC A, will be responsible for operations in the following States; Kebbi, Niger and Kwara States.
He said that EOC B will be responsible for operations in Edo and Kogi States, while EOC C will be operational at Amambra and Delta States.
He listed EOC D to be responsible for operations in Benue, Taraba and Adamawa and lastly, EOC E to be responsible for operations in Rivers and Bayelsa.
Maihaja said that the NEMA situation room was also being activated for collecting data, analyzing the data for information sake to guide the operations of the national EOCs and the Zonal EOCs.
He said that the nation would be given regular information and updates on further developments.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered Maihaja to declare a “national disaster’’ in the event that anticipated flooding turns a reality in some parts of the country.
The President’s directive follows a warning from NHISA that Rivers Niger and Benue have almost reached the levels that resulted in the 2012 flooding.
Town union cautions communities against building on water channels
The President General of the Town Union (ETU), Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra, Chief Paul Nnatuanya Ebenebe, has warned the community against building on water channels or face wrath of the law.
Nnatuanya spoke in Ebenebe yesterday during his inaugural speech as the newly elected president general of the community.
The town union president said his administration would monitor compliance to the new directives so as to save the community from imminent destruction from flood.
He said most of the flood being experienced recently in the community was as a result of people building on flood channel, dumping of refuse in gutters and other activities alien to flood.
Nnatuanya urged the people of the community to key into the monthly sanitation usually observed in major cities of the state on last Saturdays of every month to sustain a healthy living.
He said if the community imbibed the exercise which became necessary due to various developmental projects ongoing in the community, it would be more beneficial to the town.
The president general pledged that ETU under his watch would support any government directive regarding flood control or any other progressive work in the community.
According to him, I will not hesitate to bring to justice anyone caught evading sanitation or any act against development of the town.
He urged the people to shun acts of unclean habit such as littering the streets with eateries, indiscriminate dumping of refuse, building on the water channels, and others.
Inaugurating the executive earlier, Mr Sunday Eze, a director from the Anambra State Ministry of Town Union and Chieftaincy Matters advised the new leadership to work closely with its traditional ruler, Igwe Christopher Nnaegbuna to achieve desired results.
The Chairman of the Ogbaru Local Government Area, Mr Arinze Awogu, directed the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) to cut supply to the flood prone area for fear of massive electrocution.
Awogu said no fewer than 9, 000 persons from 1, 500 households had been displaced from their homes in Ogbaru council.
Awogu noted that there were dangers of possible health hazard as many sewage pits had been ripped open by the flood.
He described the flood situation in Ogbaru as an emergency that demands swift response from the National and Anambra State Emergency Management Agencies.
The chairman requested that the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state be properly equipped for evacuation of flood victims.
“NEMA, SEMA and Red Cross officials have visited Ogbaru for on-the-spot- assessment, we are still awaiting their intervention to minimise loss of lives and property.
“The flood is having all the signs of the devastating 2012 flood and we request that IDPs camps be equipped so that the over 9,000 affected persons can move into the camps.
“We can only access people’s homes by canoe because everywhere is massively flooded, the flood comes in the night and by morning people are scampering for safety.
“There is need to sand fill some areas within the IDP camps, and at the moment no single relief material has been brought to any of the designated camps.
“The worse seem not to have been seen as we are only battling with the water released from Shiroro, Kainji and Jebba dams, the Cameroonians have not released theirs and they will do so in couple of days and when that happens, it will be a disaster for us here,” he said.
The chairman appealed to both Federal and State ministries of health to respond urgently to the health challenges posed by the flood,” he said.
‘No release of Lagbo Dam water by Cameroonian authorities yet’
The Acting Director-General of Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Ahmed Mabudi, said the rumor making rounds about the release of water from the Lagbo Dam by Camaroonian authorities was untrue.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports there were circulating reports that people living along the water banks of the Rivers Niger and Benue should run for their lives with the release of water by the operators of Lagbo dam in Cameroon.
According to the report, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Nigerian Police are quoted as warning those living along the water banks to run for their lives “between now and Saturday’’ or many houses will be over run.
Mabudi, however, told NAN on Sunday in Abuja that the news was false.
“We’ve have spoken with the operator in charge of the dam in the Southern Cameroon region, Mr Abdullahi and we are in constant discussion with him.
“There is a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Nigeria and Cameroon that the Cameroonians must give us a long notice in the event that they want to release water from the dam so we can take precautionary measures to contain any havoc as a result of the release.
“As at Tuesday when we spoke with Abdullahi, he said the water level at the dam was 12.1m, so it has to get to 12.6m before they start any release.
“So, when we alerted him about the stories making the rounds, he was shocked and refuted the claims.
“Yes, we know that there are rising water levels in Adamawa, Taraba and the Benue axis, but this is basically due to the torrential rain fall being currently experienced in the country,” he said.
He urged people living in high level water areas to remain vigilant and calm, adding that the Minister of Water Resources Suleiman Adams as well as NIHSA were in touch with operators of the Lagbo Dam.
NiMet predicts nationwide thunderstorms, rains today
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted that thunderstorms and rainfalls would prevail over most parts of the country today.
NiMet’s Weather Outlook by its Central Forecast Office (CFO) yesterday predicted localised morning thunderstorms over the central cities like Yola, Bauchi, Ibi, Makurdi, Minna, Jalingo and Abuja.
It also predicted scattered thunderstorms over the region during the afternoon and evening hours with day and night temperatures of 26 to 31 and 16 to 23 degrees Celsius respectively.
The agency predicted that Northern cities would experience partly cloudy conditions throughout the forecast period with thunderstorms over southern Maiduguri in the afternoon and evening period.
It also predicted that northern cities would have day and night temperatures in the ranges of 31 to 33 and 20 to 23 degrees Celsius respectively.
According to NiMet, Southern States will experience cloudy morning with prevalence of moderate rains over Lagos, Calabar and Port-Harcourt.
“Later in the day, there are prospects of rains over most parts of the inland and coastal cities with day and night temperatures of 29 to 31 and 20 to 22 degrees Celsius respectively,” NiMet predicted.