Several days after the floods that ravaged the state began to recede, Sadiya Farouq, the minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management, and social development, paid a visit to Bayelsa State on Tuesday.
The Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, welcomed her during a courtesy call at the Government House in Yenagoa and stated that the minister’s visit had been long anticipated due to the state’s flood calamity.
He told Farouq that she would have had a better perception about the flooding situation in the state if she had visited earlier during the peak of the catastrophe, stressing that the ravaging floodwaters had already started receding before her visit.
Diri, represented by his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, restated his call for effective support from the Federal Government and well-meaning individuals and organisations to the state over the recent flood disaster.
He said, “If you had visited us at the peak of the flood, you would have better appreciated what we as a government and people went through.
“Even now that the flood is receding, you will agree with me that it’s effect is beyond the handling of the state government. That is why we keep calling for support from the Federal Government and other well meaning individuals and organisations.”
READ ALSO: Flooding: FG Unfair To Us, Humanitarian Minister Part Of The Disaster – Bayelsa Govt.
The governor pointed out that initially the government and people of Bayelsa State were not pleased with some remarks credited to the minister about the flood disaster in the state, that Bayelsa was not among the 10 most affected states in the country.
According to him, the flood rose to over 4.5 metres above its normal level and caused unprecedented devastation, hence the news that Bayelsa was not among the worst-hit states was unsettling and worrisome to its people.
Diri, who thanked the Federal Government for the relief materials sent to the state so far through the ministry, but however, pointed out that some of the relief items reportedly sent to the state were not officially channelled through the state government to the flood victims.
He also thanked the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for including Bayelsa as a member of the National Flood Relief Committee, and expressed the belief that the state would get her fair share from the Federal Government’s post-flood relief measures.
He further said, “We are happy and elated that you have finally visited to commiserate with us. The flooding disaster is actually nobody’s fault but it is an issue of climate change. For record purposes our meteorological department in the surveyor general’s office and Ministry of Environment, monitored the flood and from records available it showed that the flood rose by 4.26 metres.
“That was why at the beginning of the flooding, almost the entire state was submerged in water. The NEMA South-South representative can attest to the level of damage caused by the flood this year.
“I also want to use this opportunity to thank the Federal Government for setting up a relief emergency committee and we are going to make suggestions that will ensure immediate relief for our farmers, fishermen and also cater for citizens’ health challenges arising from the flood.”
Speaking, the minister said she and her team were in the state to empathise with the government and people of Bayelsa State over the devastating 2022 flood, which impacted negatively on the state.
Farouq, who commended the efforts of the Bayelsa State government for providing support for the flood victims, disclosed that part of her visit to the state was also to rollout her ministry’s economic empowerment packages for beneficiaries in Bayelsa.
The minister also disclosed that the National Home Grown School Feeding Scheme, which commenced since 2016 would be introduced in Bayelsa this year, and called on the state government to create an enabling environment for the scheme to succeed in the state.