Floods In Central Africa Leave Fishermen Stranded

Dawn is just breaking over the Central African Republic’s capital Bangui as Pacome Koyeke glides his dug-out canoe over the silent misty waters of the Ubangui river.

The tributary of the mighty Congo often floods during the rainy season, but this year the water levels have been catastrophic for the nation at the heart of the African continent.

And communities that eke a livelihood from fishing have been among the worst affected.

Seemingly endless civil wars have raged since 2013 and the United Nations lists Central Africa Republic (CAR) as the second least developed country in the world. Natural disasters only make things worse.

Koyeke, 29, has been casting his net and pulling it in since 3 am, hoping for a good catch.

But after several hours all he has to show for his efforts are two small red fish.

“At the moment all the fishermen are struggling”, he says, his gaze fixed on the horizon.

With the flooding “the very high pressure of the water makes the fish flee their usual places,” says the 29-year-old.

“They go and hide under the roots of trees, where the pressure is lower but we can’t go there.”

“Before, I could earn 180,000 CFA francs (275 euros) a day, now we are lucky to get even 10,000 francs,” explains Koyeke, the head of Bangui’s fishing development association One for All.

In the distance, a group of fishermen is caught silhouetted on the edge of the thick mist as they roll out a 300-metre long net before casting it into the river, in vain.

‘A lottery’

There is a shortage of fish and equipment to make the nets which usually come from Europe, Cameroon or Nigeria, but supplies have dried up.

“Fishing’s like a lottery today, you may win one day and the next day you lose,” spits Edouard Franck, who guards canoes after having to give up fishing when he could not afford a new net.

“I no longer have the money. For a fishing net you need a minimum of 50,000 CFA francs (75 euros),” Franck explains.

The local catch includes eels, carp and captain fish, but fewer and fewer are on sale at the market at Ouango, a fishing community nearby the river.

For want of enough fish to sell, the women behind the stalls sing and dance to try to pull in passers-by and sell their meagre display.

“In normal times I could make 150,000 CFA francs (228 euros) a day, but now I can’t get even 10,000,” says Nina-Marie Zougouroupou, a 28-year-old fishmonger at a port in the capital.

“It’s difficult for us at the moment,” admits Eveline Binguimale.

Twice the price

According to the World Bank, CAR produced 29,000 tonnes of fish in 2020.

Much of the population has traditionally relied on the availability of large quantities of fish at cheap prices.

But those days appear to be passed.

“We can’t eat fish the way we want to any more,” says Sandra Liki wandering round the market looking to buy fish to feed her family.

“What we used to buy for 2,000 (CFA) francs costs 5,000 today.”

The World Bank estimates 71 percent of the nation’s six million people live below the international poverty line of $2.15 a day.

The floods have hit at a time when nearly half the population is suffering from food insecurity and relies on international aid, the UN says.

Since June, about 85,000 people have been affected by the floods across 12 of CAR’s 17 prefectures, according to the UN.

Vakaga, in the north, has been hardest hit with 24,000 affected and more than 20,000 in the capital.

In 2019, the last time such severe floods struck, the United Nations said 100,000 people lost their homes.

Devastating Floods In Bayelsa, Other States Worrisome, No Time For Reproach – Presidency

Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu appeared on Channels Television's Sunrise Daily on February 1, 2020.
A file photo of Garba Shehu.

 

The presidency has said that scenes of flooding from Bayelsa state are deeply saddening and the thoughts of the government are with the victims of, and those affected by, the floods.

The presidency however, notes that calls from some quarters for the resignation of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development are not appropriate in this climate.

In a statement on Wednesday, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu stressed that almost every state in Nigeria has been affected by the floods, adding that the Federal Government is concerned about what has happened in Bayelsa as it is with respect to the other states.


READ ALSO: NNPC BOARD: Court Fixes Dec 15th To Hear Ararume’s Suit


“No life lost is bigger or lesser than that of the others.

“The challenge of bringing succour to the large number of the displaced people in Bayelsa and other states, the restoration of their damaged property and farmlands washed away have clearly overwhelmed disaster management efforts so far but that is not to say no efforts are being made.

“The huge need for everything from foodstuff to tents, blankets and mosquito nets; antimalarial and other drugs clearly indicate that more resources are needed, not only by the disaster management agencies at the center but also by those at the State and local council levels that are structurally, the first responders.

“The Minister has been diligently working to target assistance where its most needed and plug the gaps in several state governments’ disaster responses.

“The state of Bayelsa has done commendably well but they certainly can do better with increased Federal assistance, which is still being delivered batch by batch.

“All these efforts are coming ahead of the report of the committee under the auspices of the Nigerian Governors Forum, set up by the President “to fashion out solutions and then escalate their conclusions to the Federal Government, to alleviate the plight of people currently being ravaged by flood around the country.”

“This is just as more is being expected by way of international response and how much difference can be made by support from businesses and nonprofits as the country deals with its worst flooding in decades.

“We hope that everyone, the agencies of the Federal government, the states and the local councils will increase the attention to pay to the challenges of climate change.

“Clearly, this is not a time for public reproach. It will only weaken our collective response to the tragedy, and ultimately hinder cooperation that saves lives and delivers emergency aid,” Garba Shehu stated.

He further asserted that the government at the centre will continue to do more for Bayelsa and for all states so affected as more and more resources are made available to agencies dealing.

Over One Million People Displaced By Floods In Nigeria – FG

Commuters travel in boats as vehicles are abandoned on the East-West highway severed by flooding, bringing to a halt the traffic and economic activities, in Niger Delta region of Ahoada, Rivers State, southern Nigeria, on October 21, 2022.  (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

 

Over one million persons have been displaced by the recent floods in Nigeria, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Mrs Sadiya Umar-Farouq said on Friday.

She spoke at an event to mark the National Day of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria.

“I empathise with millions of Nigerians who have been impacted by the recent flooding in Nigeria. The devastating effects have sadly led to the displacement of over a million Nigerians nationwide,” the minister said at the Presidential Banquet Hall in Abuja.

In another comment on her Twitter handle, she said “we have established 44 shelters in 24 states and most of the persons of concern have been evacuated onto higher planes. NEMA has deployed interventions.

“We have established 44 shelters in 24 states and most of the persons of concern have been evacuated onto higher planes.”

READ ALSO: FG Distributes Relief Items To Flood Victims In Zamfara

 

A tanker truck falls across the East-West highway severed by flooding, bringing to a halt the movement of vehicles and economic activities, in Niger delta region of Ahoada, Rivers State, southern Nigeria, on October 21, 2022.  (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

 

 

In 2012, 363 people died and more than 2.1 million were displaced by flooding.

Sub-Saharan Africa is disproportionately affected by climate change and many of its economies are already struggling from the ripple effects of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Rice producers have warned that the devastating floods could impact prices in the country of some 200 million people where rice imports are banned to stimulate local production.

The World Food Programme and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said last month that Nigeria was among six countries facing a high risk of catastrophic levels of hunger.

Several states in Nigeria have been ravaged by flooding in recent times. Photo: AFP

Flooding: NBA Unveils Disaster Relief Committee

People walk along the East-West highway severed by flooding, bringing to a halt the movement of vehicles and economic activities, in Niger delta region of Ahoada, Rivers State, southern Nigeria, on October 21, 2022. AFP

 

Worried by the ravaging floods in parts of the country, the Nigerian Bar Association has unveiled a Disaster Relief Committee.

This was contained in a statement on Wednesday by NBA’s National Publicity Secretary, Akorede Lawal.

He said the committee, set up by NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, has Yusuf Ali, as its chairman.

The committee’s mandate, according to the statement, is to raise funds, identify beneficiaries and design an equitable model for allocation of relief funds/materials to beneficiaries.

He also extended the gratitude of other committee members for accepting to serve.

READ ALSO: Flooding: King Charles III Writes Buhari, Symphathises With Nigeria

At least 22 states of Nigeria have been affected by the devastating floods that have killed many and rendered others homeless.

According to the Federal Government, over 600 persons have died in the recent floodings in Nigeria.

The disaster had also forced more than 1.3 million from their homes, said a statement by Nigeria’s ministry of humanitarian affairs, released on Twitter.

“Unfortunately, over 603 lives have been lost as of today October 16, 2022,” said Humanitarian Affairs Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq.

There are fears the death toll from flood has risen in part because some state governments had not prepared for the floods, said the minister.

Declare State Of Emergency On All Flood Affected Areas, Obi Tells FG

 

The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi has asked the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on all flood affected areas across the country.

At a visit to flood victims in Ibi local government Area of Taraba State on Tuesday, the presidential hopeful also urged the government to adopt the global best practice of desilting all its waters to avert a reoccurrence of this year’s flood that wrecked havoc across the nation.

“”We are calling on the government to come with interventions, declare all the affected states – a disaster area,” the former Anambra governor stressed.

Adding that, “what the federal government has to do to stop this is to ensure that the waters are desilted.

“The rivers have all been silted and we need to work on them, this is easy, it is done globally, all over the world.”


READ ALSO: Peter Obi Winning 2023 Election Will Be Miracle Of The Century – Mamora


According to Mr Obi, several contracts have been given out to fix situations like this in Nigeria, however, nothing has been done.

Speaking further on the desilting process, the Labour Party flagbearer said by desilting the water bodies, the rivers begin to contribute to the wellbeing of the people, not to be a source of trouble for the masses.

While assessing the level of damage caused by the flood, Obi interacted and sympathized with the flood victims. He reassured them of his firm support even as they try to stay afloat in this difficult time.

Obi who has been urging other presidential candidates to suspend campaigns and join him to raise awareness regarding the plights of flood victims in Nigeria, insisted that the federal government must send a high powered delegation to evaluate losses because states alone cannot cope with such disaster.

He thanked the Taraba government, traditional rulers and other leaders within the state who are helping to alleviate the situation and are giving the people succor in this time of distress.

Flood: 21 States Have Received Relief Materials, Says FG

A file photo of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq.

 

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq has confirmed the distribution of relief items to 21 states affected by the floods.

The minister made this known at a Briefing to keep the public abreast of response and interventions made so far by the ministry and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on the flood situation across the country.

Umar Farouq stated that distribution of food and non-food items to other states were already ongoing.


READ ALSO: Anti-Drug War: Senate Committee commends Marwa, Backs NDLEA’s Offensives Against Cartels


“ A total of 21 States have received relief materials so far. These States are Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Bayelsa, Ekiti, Enugu, FCT, Imo,
Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara,
Lagos , Nassarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo , Sokoto, Taraba and Yobe.

“While specialized teams are on ground, there are still some States and local governments that are inaccessible and hard to reach. To address this, we are working with the Military Disaster Response Units and other stakeholders with specialized skills and equipment to ensure that we use other means to reach hard-to-reach areas and people at risk.

“Distribution to other states affected by floods in Nigeria is ongoing. The materials being distributed are emergency food items and non-food items including rice, maize, garri, vegetable oil, tin of tomatoes, seasoning and beans.

“The non-food items are materials used to assist with temporary shelters for displaced communities including roofing sheets, cement, nails, ceiling boards, blankets, nylon mats and zinc”.

The minister also said that the Search and Rescue Operations have been on their toes since the flooding started and have continued to evacuate, relocate and refer victims to hospitals for immediate care. She called on other stakeholders to join in efforts to assist affected flood victims.

“We hope that other Ministries, Departments and Agencies such as Water Resources, Health, Works and Housing, Agriculture and Environment will join us in the next briefing with their own updates on operations to resolve this emergency we are facing. I also implore government at all levels, especially State and Local Governments, to share information with us and also play their role in the response, in line with the National Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan.

“I commend local communities for their resilience. We received a report that in 144 LGAs, local communities worked together to provide the first response to their families and neighbors. The Search and Rescue Team, which is responsible for evacuating people and providing life-saving first aid and medical support and referrals to hospitals has so far been able to reach 199 local government areas within 25 states.

“These operations are ongoing and I urge communities at risk to adhere to warnings and instructions issued by these teams as they work to protect and save lives.

“Our express our sincere appreciation to his Excellency President Muhammadu BUHARI for his support and timely special intervention in addressing the flood intervention”.

“A high-level delegation will visit some states next week to follow up on operations and to identify any new challenges and gaps in the operations that need to be addressed. This will enable government to access the situation on ground and provide and meet with victims and families that have been affected.”.

As 24th October 2022, 3,219,780 persons were reportedly affected by floods in 2022.

1,427,370 persons have been internally displaced, approximately 2,776 persons were injured, approximately 612 people lost their lives, 181,600 houses were partially damaged and another 123,807 houses totally damaged. 176,852 hectares of farmlands were partially
damaged while 392,399 hectares of farmlands have been totally damaged.

Daily situation reports can be accessed on the Ministry’s and NEMA Websites.

We Need To Use Technology, Science To Mitigate Impact Of Flooding – Prof Oyelaran-Oyeyinka

A photo shows a church and other buildings submerged along the East-West highway severed by flooding, bringing to a halt the movement of vehicles and economic activities, in the Niger Delta region of Ahoada, Rivers State, southern Nigeria, on October 21, 2022. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

 

Professor Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka says Nigeria needs to use technology to mitigate the impact of the flood on the people and to ensure they are not left to their sufferings.

“Nobody wants any of these natural disasters all over the world but we need to use technology to mitigate the impact on our people and to ensure that we don’t leave people to their sufferings,” Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, who is the Special Adviser on Industrialization to the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday.

He said in 2012, a similar flood was checked through the use of science and technology.

“I believe that as it happened in 2012 when Dr Adesina was Minister of Agriculture, remember we had a very severe flood in 2012 and many people were predicting apocalyptic scenarios that there is going to be a food shortage, crisis, and all of that but using technology and science at that time, the country was able to turn things around and that was when the dry season farming was started using exactly the receding flood and also to use science.

“Now as we speak, most of the time when things like this happen, there is a tendency for people to panic which is understandable, especially those who are affected but what we need to do now is to establish exactly how much of our farmlands are affected, how much of the communities are affected, how much of the crops planted that are destroyed.”

READ ALSOProduce Flood-Prevention Plan Within 90 Days, Buhari Directs Water Minister

The AfDB representative also spoke about the launch of the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ), a programme initiated by the bank.

The African Development Bank is providing funding of $210 million, with the Islamic Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) jointly providing $310 million, with the Nigerian government contributing $18.05 million.

The launch ceremony on Monday in the capital, Abuja kick-starts the implementation of phase one of the SAPZ program in eight states across the country.

Oyelaran-Oyeyinka acknowledged that the way state governments have responded to the flood situation may be a source of concern to investors in the agriculture sector, but he charged the leaders to do better than they are doing.

“The way society is designed is such that you have to mitigate risks, you have to put in place risk measures that will also anticipate these kinds of things. For the Special Industrial Processing loan for example, as you said if I read between the lines you are talking about the capacity of the states.

“You and I know that most developing countries like ours do not have so much capacity. As you can see in terms of the global hunger index, we are ranking extremely low. So, it speaks to the capacity of the states for service delivery, but I don’t want us to focus too much on that negativity, it’s actually very depressing that a country like ours will be featuring so low on nutritional food security. We shouldn’t have been where we are, that’s clear to me but it shouldn’t stop us also from action,” he said.

Commuters Stranded As Fuel Queues Resurface In Lagos

Fuel queues surfaced in Lagos on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.
File photo: Fuel queues surfaced in Lagos

 

Many commuters are stranded at various bus stops in Lagos State on Tuesday morning as fuel queues resurface in parts of Nigeria’s economic nerve centre.

Channels Television moved around some areas in the commercial city and observed snake-like queues comprising private and commercial vehicles at filling stations.

The queues spilled into main roads and took at least a lane as of 8 am on Tuesday when Channels Television moved through over 25 filling stations domiciled in the Agege, Alimosho, Ifako-Ijaiye, Ikeja local government areas of the state.

The queues appeared on Monday but worsened hours later as vehicle owners scramble for Premium Motor Spirit also known as petrol.

At one of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited outlets at Omole, near the popular Berger Bus Stop, a fuel attendant told Channels Television that the station did not get fuel supply over the weekend, hence the shortage.

Another fuel attendant who spoke anonymously attributed the supply shortfall to the flooding ravaging parts of the country, saying tanker drivers are having a tough time navigating dilapidated roads worsened by incessant rainfall and devastating floods.

READ ALSO: N3.36tn Allocated For Fuel Subsidy In 2023, Debt Profile Hits $102bn – FG

Meanwhile, commuters were stranded at numerous bus stops in the four local government areas as commercial vehicles popularly known as Danfos, and tricycles locally known as Keke Napep hiked transport fares by about 50%.

Efforts to get the comments of NNPC spokesperson, Garba-Deen Mohammed, proved abortive as of press time as his line was switched off. Also, a text message sent to his line has not been replied to.

On Saturday, NNPC Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari at the commissioning of Pinnacle Oil and Gas FZE Terminal in the Lekki area of Lagos said, “The largest consumer of petroleum product is Lagos and anytime we have any disruption to supply in Lagos, we panic because the trouble will start here.”

Floods have also disrupted fuel supply in Abuja and some North-Central states like Kogi, Nasarawa, and Benue where bridges vital for the movement of fuel tankers have been submerged.

Over 20 states across Nigeria have been affected by devastating floods in the last two months, displacing millions and killing over 600 persons, according to the National Emergency Management Agency.

The Nigeria Liquefied and Natural Gas (NLNG) Company recently declared force majeure because of the tragic floods across the country which have disrupted supply.

The notice sent users of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) also known as cooking gas into panic mode but the company said there is no need for panic buying or hoarding of the essential domestic commodity.

Lagos Issues Fresh Flood Advisory For Lekki, Ikoyi, Others

A file photo of a flooded part in Lagos. Credit: LASEMA

 

The Lagos State Government has issued a fresh flood advisory, advising residents of Ikoyi, Lekki, Victoria Island, and the coastal areas of Epe and Badagry to be wary of backflow due to the high tide in the Lagos lagoon.

In a statement on Monday, the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, said the latest advisory had become necessary due to the high tide of the Lagos Lagoon.

He stated that the high tide of the lagoon has made it difficult for storm run-off from the various channels to discharge effectively into the lagoon which may cause stagnation into the streets and major roads until the level of the lagoon subsides to allow for a discharge of the channels.

The commissioner also debunked some social media reports suggesting that the water level under the Third Mainland Bridge is almost being filled to the brim.

Describing the trending videos as fake news, Bello explained that the video only captures the Oworonshoki end of the bridge, which he described as normal because the area is a deck on the pile.

He cautioned people, especially those on social media, against sending panicky messages to residents in order to create unnecessary anxiety amongst people.

While advising all the residents of the affected areas in Lagos Island and other coastal areas to monitor the incidental rains regularly, Bello warned against refuse dumping in the drains and to clean their tertiary drains regularly.

He reiterated that the earlier flood advisory issued by the State to the effect that all those on the banks of Ogun River, particularly residents of Ketu, Alapere, Agric, Owode Onirin, Ajegunle, Alagbole, Kara, Isheri Olowora, Araromi, Otun Orisha community, Agiliti, Maidan, Mile 12, Odo Ogun, Owode Elede, Agboyi I, Agboyi II, Agboyi II, and Agboyi III remain vigilant at this period.

The Commissioner stressed that the State has embarked on and is continuing massive drainage clearance and the construction of new channels in addition to continuous deployment of the quick response Emergency Flood Abatement Gang to free up manholes and blackspots to ensure the optimum capacity of the drains to contain run-offs.

Flood: Falana Asks EFCC To Probe Management Of Ecological Fund

A file photo of Mr Femi Falana.

 

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the mismanagement of the ecological fund which he described as a crime against humanity.

Falana, according to a statement from his chambers signed by Tayo Soyemi, stated this on Monday at a convocation lecture at Augustine University, Lagos.

Speaking at the event on Monday, Falana said it is wrong for the Federal Government to ask citizens to hold state governments to account in event of a national disaster. He expressed concern over the impact of recent flooding across communities.

READ ALSO: Produce Flood-Prevention Plan Within 90 Days, Buhari Directs Water Minister

“The mismanagement of ecological fund is a crime against humanity because it is responsible for the loss of many lives, displacement of millions of people, and destruction of properties worth trillions of Naira,” Falana said.

“Before the proposed probe by the EFCC, the federal government should come to the aid of the affected state governments. However, the EFCC should probe the involvement of officials of the federal government and state governments.

“In particular, the federal government has failed to release money from the ecological fund to the affected states. On their own part, the various state governments have equally failed to provide relief materials for the victims.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government did not ask the citizens to hold the state governments to account for funds meant for building and equipping hospitals.

“Instead of inciting citizens to demand an explanation which will be ignored by state governments, the federal government should submit a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for the investigation of the mismanagement of the ecological fund which is a crime against humanity.”

While faulting the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, for saying the floods are an “act of God”, Falana asked the government to ensure that measures to mitigate flooding become a priority.

He also expressed concern over ongoing campaign activities by political parties despite the effect of flooding on victims.

The Ecological Fund Office, under the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, was created in 1985 following the approval of the Federation Account Act of 1981.

It includes one percent of the Federation Account and it is known as the derivation and ecology fund, and the focus of the office is to have a pool of funds that would be solely devoted to the funding of ecological projects to mitigate serious ecological problems.

Last year, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved N16.04 billion in ecological fund projects across 12 states and the federal capital territory (FCT) for soil erosion/flood and pollution control interventions.

Aid Slowly Reaches Nigerian Flood Victims

Commuters travel in boats as vehicles are abandoned on the East-West highway severed by flooding, bringing to a halt the traffic and economic activities, in Niger delta region of Ahoada, Rivers State, southern Nigeria, on October 21, 2022.  (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

 

Along a highway engulfed by dark waters, Nigeria residents load dozens of boats full of food to bring assistance to the victims of the country’s worst floods in a decade.

Waiting by the waterside, past the many half-submerged trucks, Bolaji Phillips looks on next to his vehicle, which is filled with cassava flour, rice and noodles.

“My wife and I consulted and decided to withdraw our savings, the little we have, to do something for the people,” the 40-year-old said.

Aid is slowly coming to southern Nigeria after the biggest floods since 2012 killed more than 600 people and affected nearly three million others, according to official figures.

Many have fled their homes, including to overcrowded displacement camps. The others, completely cut off from the world, remain in communities swallowed by the waters.

Efforts now focus on passing the damaged and partly impassable highway linking Rivers and Bayelsa states — among the two most devastated regions.

Near the town of Ahoada, volunteers and NGOs are doing vital work until official aid slowly reaches the most destitute.

“The damage is enormous. The government has not done much so far. We are totally alone,” said Winner Written, a 32-year-old entrepreneur among those helping out.

“We are just individuals trying to help one another.”

“Suffering”

Over the weekend, volunteers loaded precious fuel in yellow jerrycans onto the boats heading to flooded villages.

Rivers State authorities have allocated one billion naira ($2.3 million) to help victims, especially around Ahouda, one of the worst hit.

The United States said it has donated $1 million in humanitarian aid.

Rescue officials said they have started delivering 12,000 tonnes of food across the country after the aid was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

But on the ground, few have seen the results of these efforts so far.

Supplying food is almost impossible, hampered by strong currents or waters that are strewn with obstacles or choked with vegetation, and aid coordination is hindered by lack of mobile coverage in remote areas.

In a black tank top, Jeremy Ogboka, 35, lends a hand on a section of the half-flooded highway.

“Right here, one of the speedboats capsized. Luckily, we saved them all,” he said.

“We help as we can but nobody pays us. So many people are suffering. It’s been two weeks the road is blocked.”

Using two speedboats the Nigerian navy in the area has provided security and transport for facilitating humanitarian aid.

A rescue mission headed this weekend to the remote areas ferrying members of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and sailors to bring aid and evacuate those they could.

“Humanitarian crisis”

Guided by young people who know the route to the ravaged communities, the motorboats sink into the heavy vegetation, struggling against the currents.

After half an hour of laborious progress, the remains of a village appeared. No sign of life.

Seated at the front of the vessel, the second lieutenant in charge kept his hand on his assault rifle.

“This is a volatile region. Two months ago, we arrested many kidnappers, criminals and acquired many rifles,” he said.

All around, almost everything is submerged. The roofs and the panel of a school protrude, the only signs of a semblance of life now submerged.

Boat engines bog in the leaves as the current tugs at the vessel, making it impossible to advance to a flooded village where some victims requiring medical care managed to call NEMA.

Eventually, the rescue mission is aborted.

In addition to aggravating food insecurity — farmland and crops were devastated — the deadly floods have caused an outbreak of cholera, according to the NGO International Rescue Committee (IRC).

In 2012, particularly deadly floods ravaged Nigeria, but residents said this year’s disaster was becoming much worse.

“Nothing has been done after to minimise the impact of the floods,” said Opuwill Ayitu, a 40-year-old volunteer. “A humanitarian crisis is looming.”

Flooding: Every Single Community Affected In Bayelsa – Governor Diri

 

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Duoye Diri, has lamented the ravaging flooding across the country, saying every community in the state is affected.

The governor disclosed this during an interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight, a pre-recorded show on Sunday.

Obviously worried, Diri said the state government has converted primary and secondary schools that are not flooded into Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps.

READ ALSO: Flooding: King Charles III Writes Buhari, Symphathises With Nigeria

Noting that the whole state is now one big IDP camp, the governor explained that centres have been opened particularly in Yenagoa, the capital, to house displaced persons and begin to attend to their needs.

People walk along the East-West highway severed by flooding, bringing to a halt the movement of vehicles and economic activities, in the Niger Delta region of Ahoada, Rivers State, southern Nigeria, on October 21, 2022. AFP

 

This is even as he explained that the state government, through its task force and the State Emergency Management Agency, has begun distributing items to cushion the effect of flooding on the people.

“Every community in Bayelsa is an IDP camp. However in Yenagoa the capital city, we have designated some IDP camps. It is not an exaggeration, every community is an IDP camp,” Diri said.

“We have a place called the Oxbow Lake which was used as an event centre. Today, that place has been opened for IDPs and we have no less than 2,000 IDPs in that centres. We also have all primary and secondary schools that are not yet flooded have been used as an IDP camp.”

“That is why the Task Force, together with the State Emergency Management Agency keep distributing foodstuff to every local government and every community because no community is left out.”

According to Diri, the state government is concerned about the possible outbreak of diseases among the IDPs.

To address the issue, he stated that the Ministry of Health has also commenced the distribution of drugs to the people while the situation lasts.

Bayelsa is one of the over 22 states in Nigeria that has been grappling with the issue of flooding recently. The situation has sacked many people from their homes and has destroyed many farmlands, with fears about the security of food.

Already, over 600 persons have died in the recent floodings in Nigeria as of last Sunday.

The disaster had also forced more than 1.3 million from their homes, said a statement by Nigeria’s ministry of humanitarian affairs, released on Twitter.

“Unfortunately, over 603 lives have been lost as of today October 16, 2022,” said Humanitarian Affairs Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq.

The previous toll from last week stood at 500, but the numbers had risen in part because some state governments had not prepared for the floods, said the minister.

Watch the full interview of Channels Television’s Newsnight on Monday, October 24 by 9 pm.