Rise in water levels cause fear of flood in Bayelsa communities

by Adeola Balogun

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Due to the recent rise in water levels after the August rain break, the residents of various riverine areas of Bayelsa State have begun to entertain fears of more flooding.

The communities in question have been enveloped with anxiety as their positioning beside water bodies makes them more vulnerable to floods.

According to reports, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET, had early in the year warned coastal states of the South-South to brace up for another devastating flood.

The anxiety of the people is well-founded as Bayelsa is believed to be about 70% water and 30% land. The state is the receptacle of the country’s water flow and virtually every community in the state is located by rivers, creeks and canals, making them susceptible to flooding and land- slides.

Investigations around the riverine communities in Sagbama, Kolokuma-Opokuma and Yenagoa Local Government Areas, showed the rapid rise in the river level after the recent August break.

Most of the farmlands on the river banks had been taken over by water, forcing the rural folks to harvest their produce early. Also, most residents have started erecting sand bags around their rivers to prevent the surging water from overflowing the banks and sacking their homes.

Some of the locals who expressed concern over the rising water levels.

“The speed at which the water level is rising is causing us sleepless nights, given the devastating nature of last year’s flooding. Our prayer is that we do not have a repeat of that incident,” a concerned native of Sagbama town, who identified himself as Adowei, said.

But Chairman of Bayelsa State Post Flood Management Committee, Chief Francis Doukpola, has assured that the state government was working around the clock to prevent a repeat of last year’s flooding, which caught many napping.

He said: “The committee is paying attention to flood mitigation as we believe that preventing flooding of communities is far better than managing emergencies in submerged communities.”

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