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NIMET Flood Alert: Bayelsa govt begins search for makeshift camps

From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

Against the backdrop of the 2024 flood warning issued by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), the Bayelsa State government has directed its directorate for flood and erosion control to begin the process of identifying higher grounds for flood relief camps across the state.

The state government was given a rude awakening by the flash flooding of several parts of Yenagoa, the state capital on Monday following the downpour Sunday night.

The government, as part of efforts to mitigate the effect of the imminent flood, has also directed the directorate to identify structures built on natural canals within the Yenagoa metropolis for possible demolition to check flooding during downpours and in the major flood season.

Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo gave the directives after a meeting with the Director-General and the directors of the Bayelsa State Directorate of Flood and Erosion Control (BYSDFEC), local government chairmen and their rural development authorities (RDA) counterparts in Government House, Yenagoa on Tuesday.

Read also: Panic in Bayelsa over flash floods

According to Ewhrudjakpo, identifying and building campgrounds were part of proactive measures the state government is taking to mitigate the effects of any massive flooding as predicted by NIMET.

He urged the Directorate to liaise with the local government and RDA chairmen to quickly establish more relief camps close to flood-prone communities to spare rural dwellers the trouble of moving to Yenagoa, the state capital.

The deputy governor also stressed the need for the Ministry of Environment and other relevant agencies to intensify the ongoing efforts to open up canals and waterways for unimpeded water flow.

Ewhrudjakpo, who frowned at the practice of building houses and other structures across natural water canals, especially in the state capital, assured that the present administration was poised to implement the State Physical Planning and Development Act 2000.

He, therefore, directed the Flood Control Directorate to earmark such structures for possible demolition to save residents of Yenagoa from the menace of incessant flash floods.

In his remarks, the Director-General of the Bayelsa Directorate for Flood and Erosion Control, Surveyor Walson Omuso, said efforts were underway to identify additional higher grounds for the flood relief camps in preparation for the huge flood as predicted by NIMET.

Surveyor Omuso appealed to the local government chairmen and their RDA counterparts to collaborate with the Directorate to ensure that measures being taken by the state government succeed in alleviating the suffering of the people in the event of any serious flooding experience in the state.

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