FG: Extent of Damage to Roads, Other Public Infrastructure by Floods Not Yet Known

•More communities, homes submerged as Diri sympathises with victims

•FEMA tells Abuja residents to brace up for more floods

Deji Elumoye, Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja and Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa

The federal government has explained that the extent of damage to roads and other public infrastructure by floods across the country was yet to be ascertained.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, stated this yesterday, while speaking with newsmen after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.

Fashola, who was responding to a question on the extent of damage done to the roads by the floods and the attendant logistics movements and travels, said it still remained difficult to measure the level of damage, until the waters must have finally receded.

According to him: “At this stage, it’s difficult to quantify the damage to the roads, the only thing that is clearly visible at this time, and that’s because the flood is still receding. So it’s when all of that is gone that we can really see how much damage has been done.

“The impact is that just like in any situation of extreme weather condition, travel logistics are hampered, so some of the roads are difficult to traverse.

“It has caused some backlog in logistic movements, we are already seeing some disruptions in supply chain, like fuel and some other things, but we hope that when the water fully recedes, we will see the full extent of damage. But we are already planning our Ember-months movement, which we do in the last quarter of the year.

“So that will take into consideration any damage that has been done and we’ll try and remedy as much of it as resources and time allow us, so that we prepare for that heavy movement period during the festive period”.

Also yesterday, the federal government said it has begun discussions with the Ethiopian government over the recent visa ban on Nigeria, hoping to achieve a reversal of the new policy.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who disclosed this during the briefing, however, noted that the ban does not in any way affect the business deal between Nigeria and the Ethiopian Air over Nigeria Air.

The Ethiopian government recently temporarily suspended visa on arrival for Nigerians and citizens of over 42 other nations with immediate effect.

“I don’t think this is restricted to or applied to Nigeria alone on the decision to do visa on arrival from all the information we got, it affects many countries as well. We have contacted the Nigeria Immigration Service and also the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to deal with this. It has nothing to do with the relationship between Nigeria and Ethiopian airlines,” the minister explained.

Floods: More Communities, Homes Submerged as Diri Sympathises with Victims

 Meanwhile, with over five reported deaths and loss of homes and properties and many communities deserted following the rampaging flooding across Bayelsa State, the State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said his government feels the pain and suffering of communities and individuals affected by the natural disaster.

Almost all part of the state is affected by the flooding with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) rising by the day

However, the Bayelsa governor, assured that the government would give top priority to alleviating the suffering of victims.

He spoke yesterday during the 90th State Executive Council Meeting held inside the Executive Chambers of Government House, Yenagoa.

Diri said it was his concern for the victims that necessitated the setting up of the task force on flooding, which has already visited more than 100 impacted communities.

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted him as saying that the government was aware that some lives have been lost as well as homes and communities ravaged by the unfortunate perennial occurrence.

 He noted that the state’s aquatic nature makes it heavily impacted as available reports indicate that comparatively this year’s flood would be worse than that of 2012.

His words: “Let me assure our brothers and sisters that have been heavily impacted that while we pray the flood abates soon, your government will also do the needful as we have set up a committee during the previous state executive council meeting.

“The committee has been working tirelessly and it will present a report today on what they have done so far. From that, I believe that some succour will come from your state government.

“I also like to salute the courage of Bayelsans in the face of the ravaging floods. Homes and communities have been sacked. Our people are now living as IDPs (internally displaced persons). We have also recorded a few deaths and destruction of property due to the flood.

“The flood might not be new to us as a people as we also pride ourselves as being aquatic. However, the ratio of this year’s flood comparatively appears to be the highest. The report I have just received suggest that this would go beyond the 2012 floods.

“Our prayers are with our brothers and sisters that have been severely impacted. Each and every one of us, either directly or indirectly, have been impacted by the flood.”

Diri appealed to well-meaning citizens of the state to also come to the aid of victims of the disaster.

The governor equally called on the federal government to partner the state in working out a permanent solution to the flood by considering a dam to contain the waters.

FEMA Warns FCT Resident to Brace up for More Floods

In a related development, the Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) yesterday warned residents of the FCT not to expect any end to the rainy seasons soon, saying there would be more floods.

The Director General of the agency, Abbas Idriss, gave the warning during the agency’s quarterly press briefing. He said FEMA was strategising on curbing flood and other disasters across the territory.

Idriss projected that this year’s rainy season was going to last longer than the usual where it is expected to stop in October.

He added that FEMA had initiated a sensitisation programme where stakeholders usually meet to reappraise measures to tackle fire, flood and other disasters in the outskirts of Abuja.

He said the agency was concerned with flood-prone areas especially the suburbs of the FCT where the disaster was human-induced and would continue to work with the strategic stakeholders in averting disasters.

According to him, most residents in rural areas dump waste in drainages and unauthorised places that create avenue for flooding.

He said during the period under review, the agency carried out the needs assessment of victims of floods and fire disasters, which 85 households were affected by the floods in Dutse Makaranta, Dutse Baupama and Dutse Sagbayi.

“At Dutse Apo near Ceder crest hospital, 26 households were affected by the floods. In most of the households, vehicles were submerged and houses flooded. We intend to commence the distribution of relief materials like food and none food items to the victims to cushion the effect of the floods,” he added.

On fire incident, Idriss disclosed that the needs assessment carried out after the Karimo market fire showed that approximately 400 shops were razed.

He said the agency through its department of Relief and Rehabilitation impacted on the lives of displaced persons in the FCT to give them a sense of belonging.

“A cursory look at some of our interventions in emergency situations in the FCT between January and September this year. Major disasters we responded to on our toll free 112 emergency number are building collapse, flooding and fire incidents.

“We have activated other emergency agencies to the scene of the building collapse at Kubwa . Five of the seven victims trapped in the rubble of the collapsed building were rescued,  2 persons were however fatally injured during the incident.

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