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Flooding: Stay at home, Bayelsa Gov tells civil servants

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has directed all civil servants in the state, except those on essential duties, to stay at home for one…

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has directed all civil servants in the state, except those on essential duties, to stay at home for one week to mitigate the effects of flooding in communities.

Diri, who gave the directive during a statewide broadcast on Tuesday, said floods have overwhelmed several communities in the state and severely impacted lives and livelihood.

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Daily Trust reports that part of the state Secretariat in Yenagoa was also affected by flood.

He appealed to vendors, particularly those selling fuel, food, water and pharmaceuticals, not to exploit the situation by hiking the prices of products.

He said: “Over the last few days, floods have overwhelmed our communities and severely impacted the lives and livelihood of our people. This is a natural disaster that has affected many other states of the federation to various degrees. I have been on a tour of several of our communities to see first hand the extent of destruction. Our experience has shown that the flood water empties into our state.

“From my personal assessment, the situation is dire. Nearly a million people in over 300 communities in the state have been internally displaced. Unfortunately, some deaths have been reported. The narrative is the same across Sagbama, Ekeremor, Southern Ijaw, Ogbia, Yenagoa, Nembe and Kolokuma Opokuma Local Government Areas. Businesses have been shut, properties lost and farm lands destroyed. We have a humanitarian crisis.

“Critical infrastructure like hospitals, roads, bridges and schools, including the state-owned Niger Delta University, Amassoma, the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri, and the University of Africa, Toru-Orua, have been severely affected.

“As I make this address, Bayelsa State is completely severed from the rest of the country as portions of the strategic East-West Road, the sole access to and from the state, between Ughelli and Patani in Delta State as well as Okogbe and Ahoada in Rivers State have collapsed with a high volume of flood water occupying the stretch. Economic hardship has set in, as food, medical provisions and energy are now in short supply. The situation is desperate and getting worse.

“I wish to, on behalf of the people of Bayelsa, sincerely thank Mr. President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari, for his kind directive to the different federal agencies to come to assist the state. I urge them to comply with this presidential directive expeditiously.

“Without exaggeration, the sheer scale of the devastation is not such that the state can handle on its own. We urgently solicit the support of multinationals, international donor agencies, the Red Cross, diplomatic missions and people of goodwill to come to the aid of our state.

“I have directed all civil servants except those on essential duties to be given time off from work for the next one week. Let me make a special appeal to vendors, particularly of fuel, food, water and pharmaceuticals not to exploit the situation. We must be our brothers’ keeper.

“Government has also observed that at such moments of distress, some miscreants take advantage of the vulnerable population to commit crime. Let me make it clear that we will continue to have zero tolerance for crime and criminality.”

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