By Samuel Oyadongha
YENAGOA- BAYELSA State Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (rtd) has reiterated the need to build Flood Shelter Stations in all the Local Government Areas of the state to accommodate displaced persons, in the event of flooding in the state this year.
He recalled that in 2012, the state government recommended the building of Flood Shelter Stations to the Federal Government but unfortunately, no concrete steps had been taken, except the designing of engineering drawings for the project.
The deputy governor stated this when a team of officials from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), called on him in Yenagoa.
“Every flood-prone area should have a high ground identified and a big hall built to accommodate displaced persons whenever there is flood,” he said.
He decried the situation whereby relevant agencies of government do not do anything concrete concerning flood matters until the next flood season, stressing that proactive measures and early preparations be made to deal with the perennial issues of flood.
The deputy governor, however, revealed that on the part of the state government, ” Incident officers have been appointed for all the local governments in the state whose responsibility is to coordinate flood-related activities in their respective local governments.”
While assuring the visiting team that the state government would collaborate with all relevant Federal Government agencies to tackle flood matters, he also said that the state government was already monitoring the water level at Lokoja, Onitsha and in the state.
Earlier in his remarks, Umar Mohammed, Director of Legal Services at the NEMA Headquarters , Abuja, who led the team, stated that the team was in the state to interface with relevant stakeholders concerning the impending flood, following predictions by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), with regards to flooding of States on Rivers Niger and Benue.
According to him, NEMA as the coordinating agency on disasters has constituted five teams to visit states that are likely to be affected by flood this year, with a view to assessing their level of preparedness in the event of flood as predicted by NIMET.
The essence, he emphasized, is to articulate some proactive measures, identify flash-points as well as inspect equipment that could be deployed to tackle flood within the shortest possible time.
Present during the courtesy visit were; Barr. Kemela Okara, Secretary to the Bayelsa State Government; Retired Major Zedekiah Isu, Chairman, Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency and Retired Navy Captain Suona-Obiate Offor, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the Deputy Governor.