YENAGOA—RESIDENTS of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, are still counting their losses after an unprecedented heavy downpour, last Thursday, which swamped many homes and several parts of the state capital.
The rainfall started at about 2.30a.m. and dragged on till about 11.00 am, triggering a near emergency situation in the predominantly lowland and marshy capital city, where some families had to race against time to salvage what they could of their valuables.
Though the wet season is yet to peak, residents are already apprehensive of likely high rainfall, this year, on account of last week’s deluge and the attendant pains it had inflicted on the people.
The situation is to say the least pathetic as several thousands of people were affected. Schools were shut down and pupils sent home to avoid possible misfortune, just as many civil servants were forced to stay away from offices to manage the home front.
Inhabitants narrate experiences
Some residents, who spoke to NDV, expressed sadness over the havoc caused by the flood. “It was the cry of my children that woke me up,” lamented Edaere, a widow whose two- bedroom apartment was flooded by water. She said her children were sleeping on the floor when they noticed an unusual coldness that jolted them from their sleep.
“The speed with which the water spread to the entire house was alarming. There is nothing we could do to salvage our valuables,” she said.
“It was a terrible experience; my entire property went under water. What could I have done? The water level was as high as my window. I have relocated my family to a safe zone pending when the situation improves. The havoc wreaked by the heavy downpour could have been minimal if there is functional drainage system in place,” Collins Jones , another victim lamented.
Lack of drainage
Findings revealed that indeed, most of the affected areas had no drainage system, while those with drainages were either blocked, preventing free flow to the natural canals or do not lead to any natural drains. This situation is further compounded by the illegal erection of structures along the right of way of the natural canals, some of which residents have since converted to dump sites.
The problem notwithstanding, it is the general consensus of analysts that, with the required political will and proper planning, the menace of flooding could be tamed in the state, as there is no problem without a solution.