Residents allege govt neglect as flood submerges Tombia community, Bayelsa State

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Simon Utebor, Yenagoa

Residents of Tombia and its environs in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have raised the alarm over the flood that has ravaged the community.

The residents claimed that the state government had neglected them as the flood caused by the overflowing of the bank of River Nun, a tributary of River Niger, had submerged many settlements along its bank.

It was learnt that the residents of Tombia community in Ekpetiama Kingdom found out that flood had overtaken the community since September 27, 2017.

The flooding, which followed a surge from the River Nun that overflowed its bank on the night of September 26, has left many inhabitants in shock, as the disaster is said to have destroyed vast farmlands with crops, houses and other valuables affected.

Some of the residents in the area, who narrated their ordeals on Monday, said houses, farmlands and fishing gears were lost to the flood, which has been increasing in intensity

Bayelsa was listed by the Nigerian Meteorological Services Agency as one of the flood-prone states in its 2017 rain forecast.

The President of the Ekpetiama Youth Association, Mr. Peter Otobotekere, said the community had been experiencing perennial flood challenge, appealing to the government to come to their aid before the inhabitants are wiped out.

He said the plight of the people had been tabled before government several times but that nothing has been done to save their ancestral land from extinction.

Otobotekere stated, “We have been exposed to perennial flash floods for as long as we can remember, and we expect government to do something to mitigate it.

“It is usual for the water levels to rise at this time of the year which often helps our fishing vocation; but the level has reached a crisis point, and sadly, there is no contingency for us who are vulnerable to flooding.”

Community members contended that only a shoreline protection infrastructure would save the area from the perennial flooding they face whenever the river overflows its banks.

When Contacted, Bayelsa State Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Williams Alamene, said  the government was not aware of any flood incident in Tombia community.

He declined to comment on the preparedness of the state government to mitigate the impact of anticipated flood, as the state was listed as one of the flood-prone states.

Meanwhile, there have been indications of rising water levels across many river banks across the state in recent weeks.

The Bayelsa State Coordinator, Environmental Right Action and Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Mr. Alagoa Morris, has urged the state government to act on the available disaster warnings and improve on its flood preparedness to mitigate the effects of any likely flooding incident.

It will be recalled that Bayelsa was among the worst hit states in the 2012 floods which resulted in the setting-up of a flood committee in the state.

Culled from here

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