*Gov. Okowa Gets Kudos On Proactive Steps
*Reads Riot Act To Coastal Residents
-By Albert OGRAKA:
The Federal Government of Nigeria has designated Delta State as National Disaster Zone with three other states of the country, following the ravaging flood that has continued to submerge coastal communities in the state.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo made the pronouncement in Asaba on Thursday, September 20 when he inspected flood ravaged communities in the state, alongside the Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa and Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige.
This development has however heightened fear and panic across the state, especially as most affected people find it difficult to move from their riverside communities to the populated uplands, due to poverty in the state and country.
“We are trapped in our communities. Government has said we should move out. Should we fly from the riverside to the upland with our loved ones? There is no money to move out and we cannot continue to wait until government officials arrive late when the whole place is flooded already,” a sad Deltans grieved.
The Vice President, who expressed satisfaction with the proactive measures taken by Governor Okowa’s administration to reduce the effect of the flood on the people who were at the impacted communities said, “I am very touched seeing these persons who are affected by flood, I know how disruptive it is for those who are affected.”
Speaking at one of the holding camps set up for the displaced persons in Asaba, Oshimili South local government area of the state, Prof. Osinbajo said, “I thank the Governor of Delta State for setting up this holding camp, the facilities are adequate, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in the next 24 hours, will send relief materials to the state,” Prof. Osimbanjo said, disclosing that following the effect of the flood, the Federal Government has designated Delta State as National Disaster Zone with three other states of the country.
The Vice President assured that the Federal Government will not only contribute to ensure the welfare of the flood victims while they are at the holding camps but, will work to properly resettle them in their communities after the flood must have receded.
Governor Okowa who accompanied the Vice President on visits to impacted communities, in a brief speech at the holding camp, thanked the Federal Government for their speedy response to the flood situation.
He observed that the state was bracing up for more impact of the flood as water in the affected states would pass through Delta State to empty into the Atlantic Ocean.
The governor thanked the displaced persons for embracing government programmes aimed at evacuating them to safety, stating, “though, we are aware that property, farm produce have been destroyed, our major concern is to save life, we are aware that the coming days may be more challenging as the flood is expected to rise, but, our people are prepared to ensure that Deltans are not left at the impacted communities; we are praying that the flood recedes fast for our people to return to their normal life.”
Prior to the VPs visit, Governor Okowa had ordered the State’s flood Management committee to move into impacted communities and evacuate people who are yet to relocate to camps established for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
According to the governor, “this is an emergency situation, move the buses to the communities, use speed boats where necessary and comb all the impacted communities, bring out any of our persons remaining in those communities to the IDP camps.”
“From what we have heard, the flood water is rising, you can see that apart from Oko Amakom, the other communities have been submerged; it is an unfortunate situation, thank God we embarked on early awareness campaign and our people listened,” the governor stated.