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Bayelsa Declares 7-Day Break For Workers Over Flood Disaster

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Bayelsa Declares 7-Day Break For Workers Over Flood Disaster

By Abdullahi Ahmad Bamalli

The Bayelsa State governor, Douye Diri, has handed civil servants in the State a seven-day time off from work aside those on essential services, due to difficulties being faced as a result of the flood disaster ravaging the State.

He also confirmed that the state was facing humanitarian crisis with over one million persons displaced across Sagbama, Ekeremor, Southern Ijaw, Ogbia, Yenagoa, Nembe and Kolokuma Opokuma local government areas while businesses shut, properties lost and farmlands destroyed.

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Governor Diri in a statewide broadcast on Tuesday morning said though the flood is a natural disaster that has affected many other States of the Federation to various degrees, nearly a million people in over 300 communities in the State, have been internally displaced while some deaths have been reported.

He said critical infrastructure like hospitals, roads, bridges and schools, including the state-owned Niger Delta University in Amassoma, the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri, and the University of Africa, Toru-Orua, have been severely affected.

According to Governor Diri, without exaggeration, the sheer scale of the devastation was not such that the state could handle it on its own.

“We urgently solicit the support of Multinationals, International Donor Agencies, the Red Cross, Diplomatic Missions and people of goodwill to come to the aid of our state.

“I appeal to Mr. President to consider special grants to the state from the Stabilization Fund, Ecological Fund and Natural Resources Fund.

“Over the last few days, floods have overwhelmed our communities and severely impacted the lives and livelihood of our people. This is a natural disaster that has affected many other states of the Federation to various degrees. I have been on a tour of several of our communities to see at first hand the extent of destruction. Our experience has shown that flood water empties into our State.

“From my personal assessment, the situation is dire. Nearly a million people in over 300 communities in the State, have been internally displaced. Unfortunately, some deaths have been reported. The narrative is the same across Sagbama, Ekeremor, Southern Ijaw, Ogbia, Yenagoa, Nembe and Kolokuma Opokuma Local Government Areas. Businesses have been shut, properties lost and farm lands destroyed. We have a humanitarian crisis.

“Critical infrastructure like hospitals, roads, bridges and schools, including the state-owned Niger Delta University, Amassoma, the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri, and the University of Africa, Toru-Orua, have been severely affected.

As I make this address, Bayelsa State is completely severed from the rest of the country as portions of the strategic East-West Road, the sole access to and from the state, between Ughelli and Patani in Delta State as well as Okogbe and Ahoada in Rivers State have collapsed with a high volume of flood water occupying the stretch. Economic hardship has set in, as food, medical provisions and energy are now in short supply. The situation is desperate and getting worse.

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