THE Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Farouq, on Tuesday visited Bayelsa to commiserate with the people and government of the state on the impact of the flood.
The minister had earlier told State House Correspondents that Bayelsa was not among the 10 most impacted states in the 2022 flood disaster that affected 33 states.
The Bayelsa government questioned the parameters used by the Minister in the ranking and released its own data that showed that the stated recorded 96 deaths, while some 1.2 million residents were displaced.
“It is indeed with heavy heart that l and my teams have come to Bayelsa State to empathize and condole with the government and the good people of Bayelsa State over the unfortunate incident of recent flood disaster in the state that claimed lives and properties.
“This monumental loss is indeed great and has impacted negatively on the state and the country at large.
“Today, we are here, on behalf of the Federal Government and the entire Management and staff of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, to commiserate with the Government and good people of Bayelsa State and to express our sympathy and condolences to you over this unfortunate incident of flood disaster.
“Following the magnitude of this devastation in the state and most parts of the country, l wish to state that His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, approved the release of 12,000 metric tons of assorted food commodities from National Strategic Reserve Stock for distribution to victims of this flood disaster in the country as a way of assuaging their suffering.
“This interventions through NEMA, an Agency under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, has been sustained since July 2022 to date,” she said.
She reassured the state of Federal Government’s continued support and assistance, in line with Buhari’s directives to support the affected persons with necessary basic relief assistance.
She commended the Bayelsa government for providing support to the flood affected persons and appreciated the understanding of concerned members of the public on the intervention by the Federal and State Governments so far.
Receiving the Minister and members of her entourage in Government House, Yenagoa, Gov Douye Diri noted that the Minister’s visit to the state was long expected, especially when the flood was at its peak.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor was represented by his Deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo.
He pointed out that initially the government and people of Bayelsa 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 impacted states in the country.
Diri informed that 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.
He thanked the Federal Government for the relief materials it had sent to Bayelsa so far through the Ministry, but 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.
“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 office and Ministry of Environment monitored the flood and from records available it showed that the flood rose by 4.26 metres.
“And that is why, for the first time almost the entire state was submerged in water,” he said. (NAN)