John ODHE, Yenagoa
In Bayelsa state, there has been no dehumanizing situation than the one presented by the 2022 flood . Like never before in the history of flooding in the state, the 2022 flood has claimed over 20 souls in Bayelsa State, including children and adults.
One of the latest casualties of flooding is a 31 year-old popular footballer, Earnest Peremobowei who got drowned in a raging flood at Yenebelebiri community in Yenagoa local Government area of the state, the corpse of which has been found and deposited in the morgue at the Federal Medical Centre.
The late young man had won laurels with several local football teams including the Eternal Grace Football Club which emerged winner of the last edition of the Bayelsa state sponsored football tournament tagged Prosperity Cup. He was also voted the third highest goal scorer in the tournament.
Younger brother of the deceased, Earnest Komboye, who confirmed the incident said the brother died of exhaustion after saving five occupants of the boat that was ferrying them across the Epie creek when the high current swerved them to hit a barge at the Government House jetty and caused the canoe to capsize.
Komboye said the loss of his brother to the flood was painful and a huge loss to his wife and two kids (10 months old girl and 3years old boy), appealing to the state government to assist late Peremobowei’s children and the family at this trying moments.
Double Tragedy As Hausa Community Looks For Land To Bury Flood Victim
For the Hausa Community in Bayelsa state, it is a double tragedy as they are mourning one of their own, Abbakar Malami, who drowned while attempting to cross the Epie creek to the other side.
On the other hand, the Hausa mourners are also faced with the problem of getting a piece of land to bury their late member. This is according to a statement issued by one of their leaders in the state simply identified as Abdullahi, calling on the state government to come to their aid.
Meanwhile, the state owned cemetery located at Azikoro community in the state capital has since been submerged by the flood with already buried corpses floating out and causing panic amongst residents.
Ekeremor Community Mourns
Ogbogbene Community in Ekeremor local government area of Bayelsa state has been thrown into mourning as two of their children have been confirmed to have drowned and died in the floods.
The victims are 5-month-old Karina Anthony (male) and 7-year-old Rachael Ebiowei (female). This is according to a community source, Chief Harrish Ayemi, who described the losses as a painful disaster caused by the flood.
He said the sad development is one of the many anguish the ill-fated 2022 flood has brought to the people of Ogbogbene.
He demanded for sand filling of the entire community, lamenting that the community is regularly affected by floods.
Two Young Ladies Drowned At Akenfa-Epie, Bodies Not Yet Recovered
The people of Akenfa-Epie in the state capital are also mourning the drowning of two young ladies (names withheld) who attempted to walk across the Akenfa panel bridge but were swept away by the surging current.
As at the time of filing this report, the bodies of the unidentified ladies were yet to be recovered even as search teams were still on the search 24 hours after the unfortunate incident occurred.
At Amarata in Yenagoa, the state capital, a 61-year old woman, simply identified as Diyeyei is mourning the death of her sick 21-year old daughter who fell into the water and drowned in their elevated room while the mother was away to fend for the family.
The same sad news of deaths of children has been reported in Osekwenike community in Sagbama local government area where a 7-year old child belonging to one Omoruku fell from a raised altar in the house and drowned.
TNN gathered that similar incidents have occurred in Ogboloma, Agudama-Epie, Akenfa-Epie, Famgbe in YELGA and many unannounced cases of deaths of children as well as adults across the state as occasioned by the flood.
In some flood devastated communities visited by our correspondent, it was observed that most of the residents now pass the nights in their floating canoes while means of survival has been made difficult.
Fuel, Gas Scarcity Worsens
Another worrisome situation confronting the flood victims in Bayelsa is the scarcity of fuel as well as cooking gas.
This is because Bayelsa can no longer be assessed by neighbouring states by road due to the excessive flooding which has submerged the East/West Road.
Consequently, black marketers who manage to bring in the products from Delta state and elsewhere through boats now sell at highly unaffordable amounts.
For instance, a litre of fuel now sells between N600 and N700 as against the official pomp price of N175 while gas now sells for N1,500 per kilogram.
The most dangerous aspect of the fuel black marketing is that it has become an all comers affair, thereby posing serious threat to lives of residents.
Our correspondent reports that all the streets of Yenagoa are flooded with black market fuel just as the highly flammable liquid is carelessly displayed and dispensed into gallons for sales close to fire areas such as restaurants and places where food items such as akara, yam, potatoes and others are being fried or roasted, a situation fire experts say is a looming explosions.
Dead Chickens Flood Yenagoa Markets
Meanwhile, dead birds especially chicken have also flooded market places in Yenagoa. While some of the deaths of the birds were caused by flooded poultries, others were affected as a result of the cold weather.
TNN learnt that the owners of the dead birds were seen wearing long faces as they recounted their losses, selling their well fed chicken at giveaway prices.
One of the sellers, Mrs. Teresa Obasi who spoke to our correspondent at the Swali Ultra Modern Market lamented that the flood has dealt her a big blow, noting that she was giving away “my well fed chicken at the rate of N1,200. This is the same bird I do sell for N5,000. Look at the great loss that this flood has caused me. How can l recover from this?
How we feed flood victims from loans-NGO
In a related development, promoters of a Non Governmental Organisation knows as Build Better Life, in Bayelsa State, have spoken of how they have been feeding over 180 victims of flood in one of the IDP camps in Yenaoga, from loans obtained from operators of online loans.
Coordinator of the NGO, Oyii Bella Joshua said in an online interview that hunger remained a major issue for the victims. She also spoke of how they the victims are made to squeeze themselves inside small rooms in a primary school, where they have lived for weeks now.
“As I am talking with you, there is garri no soup. It was Barr Figilo that visited yesterday and gave us 20k, so they are making soup. We are facing community just to cook we need to buy water of 1k every day to cook. We need to fumigate the environment. As a person, I stand to gain nothing but the pain of the people is my pain.”
She said the population of displaced persons during this year’s flood was too much for her to bear, compared to what used to happen in previous years. She said help from well-meaning individuals and corporate bodies would go a long way.