By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Governor, Mr Seriake Dickson, Thursday said that the state government has yet to get any financial assistance from the federal government to alleviate the plight of persons affected by the ravaging flood in the state.
The governor said in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, that at least 70 per cent of the people living in the state were affected by the menace, noting that he had only received between 300 to 400 bags of rice as intervention from the federal government.
Stating that assets worth billions of naira had been destroyed, he recalled that Bayelsa, which was the most affected by the flooding, did not get any help from the federal government even during the serious flooding in 2012.
He said that the Bayelsa State Government had spent about N500 million on the upkeep of those displaced by the flood, ading that the state government was currently struggling with the responsibility of maintaining the internally displaced by the flood and ensuring their return to their homes.
“Other than receiving about 400 bags of rice for thousands of displaced people, I cannot point at any concrete help the federal government has rendered.
“No cash support, not even in 2012 did the state government receive any monies from the federal government. I know that we raised some money on our own and some agencies and philanthropic individuals and companies came to our rescue,” he said.
The governor said that the Bayelsa State Government had already spent over N500 million to manage the large number of persons displaced by the flood.
“And I want to use this opportunity also to call on public-spirited individuals and organisations, partners and donor agencies to please come to the aid of the people of my state. People in the state are terribly displaced and are living in very terrible conditions. How many IDP camps can we build?
“We are trying our best to help them manage a very bad situation. We’ve got two issues to deal with – taking care and ensuring that the IDPs are managed for as long as the flooding situation lasts, and also the challenge of helping them to return to their homes in order to be resettled to continue with their lives after the flood.
“It is truly challenging considering that we are still in a recession. If there’s one state out there that needs special attention and help, that state is Bayelsa,” he lamented.