Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
There is panic across coastal communities and Yenagoa, capital city of Bayelsa State as flood has submerged communities.
The flood is gradually inching towards Yenagoa amidst calls from stakeholders that schools should be shut to safeguard the lives of school children.
Governor Douye Diri had recently faulted a report by the National Emergency Management Agency(NEMA) which stated that three local government areas in Bayelsa namely Ogbia, Neme and Brass are affected by flood.
Diri had maintained the entire Bayelsa State experience flood every year with communities in Sagbama. Ekeremor, Southern Ijaw, Kolokuma/Opokuma and Yenagoa worse hit.
According to investigations Toru Orua, former governor Henry Seriake ‘s community, Adagbabiri, Sagbama, Tungbo, Bolu Orua, Trofani and adjoining communities in Sagbama Local Government Area have been submerged.
Sources said most residents of the communities have been displaced and are seeking for Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) to stay till the water level comes down
Also in Kolokuma/Opokuma, the water level is rising in Odi prompting many residents to commence steps to relocate.
The situation is not different in Yenagoa Local Government Area as communities like Biseni, Ikarama. Okordia and Zarama have been sacked.
In the state capital communities such as Tombia, Ikebiri Igboegene,Akenfa, Akenpia, Edepie, Okutukutu, Swali, Obogoro are badly affected.
Schools in Tombia both public and private have been forced to close down as the water level had been become dangerous to drive and walk.
Officials at the Ministry of Environment said the state government had moved to open up natural drains in the state to ensure many areas are not flooded.
An environmentalist and programme officer of the Environmental Rights Action, Mr Morris Alagoa had recently called out the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) on its preparation in terms of logistics, statistics and relief for flood victims.
Alagoa who wrote on his assessment of the situation said schools would need to be closed down following the rising level of the water.
While making reference to Ikarama community said the 2020 flood level is going to be high that would be risky for children to be left to be going to schools.
“ Bayelsa State Government flood induced closure of schools has become most necessary. Please close the schools. This year flood is another very high one and several communities in Bayelsa are already contending with the negative impact”
According to him closing down the schools for three weeks would not be a bad idea and reopen when the flood receeds.