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By AKOR SYLVESTER-,Abuja
The Ayakoro settlement in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa has been submerged by flood, leaving no fewer than three people dead.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the death toll from the flood disaster was confirmed by Bayelsa government on Wednesday.
Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Mr Ayibaina Duba, confirmed the incident while commiserating with the families of the victims.
Meanwhile, the paramount ruler of the community, Mr. Righteous Inegbagha, has called on the federal and state governments to take urgent steps to mitigate the impacts of the flood on the people.
He said that the flood disaster had not only rendered thousands of his subjects homeless, but had also affected their sources of livelihood, with other economic activities also paralysed.
“Our people cannot visit their farms due to the ravaging effects of the disaster,” he said.
Inegbagha expressed the regret that for about a week now, people of the community had been residing in their water-lodged houses.
He emphasised the need for government to provide relief materials, such as food, clothes and drugs for the affected people, adding that they should be evacuated to temporary camps to save them and their property.
The traditional ruler said that his palace, which used to play host to some of the victims, had now been made inhabitable due to over-crowding and lack of enough space.
However, The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Thursday in Abuja challenged all tiers of government to take collective responsibility and invest in early warning systems to reduce risks of disasters.
Mr. Mustapha Ahmed, Director-General, NEMA, threw the challenge at an event organised to mark the 2023 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.
He said the large scale of flood disaster in the country in 2022, had killed more than 500 persons, destroyed properties and displaced a large number of persons.
The director-general said that it was necessary for all Nigerians to also undertake necessary actions and adhere to early warnings to minimise impact and reduce risks of disasters.
“This is the time we must take collective responsibility to invest in early warning systems, early actions and preparedness that are people-centered; community oriented and popularity-driven.
“This is to create access and make early warnings available at national and sub-national levels with a view to enhancing the resilience of our communities,’’ he said.
According to him, the Federal government had already approved the distribution of grains and relief items to persons affected by the 2022 floods.
“The president has graciously approved 12,000 tonnes of grains, which is equivalent of 400 trailer loads, which has been distributed across the country.
“We are still working on providing relief materials, food items and non-food items to each state of the federation.
“NEMA encountered some hiccups along the Lokoja Highway, but it has alerted security agencies to help in clearing the way so that relief items can continue to get to all relevant states,’’ he stressed.
In her remarks, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, called on all communities to take necessary actions to mitigate the impact of flood.
Farouq, who was represented by Alhaji Ali Grema, Director, Humanitarian Department in the ministry, said 27 states had so far been affected by the 2022 floods.
More than 500 lives have been lost, more that 1.4 million persons have been affected, and about 90,000 homes are either partially or completely destroyed.
“Also destroyed are thousands of hectares of farmland thus worsening fears of a disruption of food supply in Africa’s most populous country.
“These widespread cases are in 27 states out of the 36 States of the federation and the FCT.
“Communities must recognise that all disasters are local and they must take climate predictions and flood outlooks warnings seriously.
“We can’t out rightly eliminate flood, but we can keep people safe. That responsibility is collectively ours,’’ she stressed.
Oct. 13 is celebrated annually as the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The theme for this year is: “Early warning and early action for all.’’ (NAN)
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