Residents of Bayelsa State have continued to lament the massive flood that has overtaken major roads and streets in the state capital, Yenagoa as a result of four days of heavy rain.
Mostly affected are residents of Captain Ayeni, Saptex, Osiri, Deawoo and Tombia road, who now have to navigate through pools of water as their roads are totally submerged by flood.
Also experiencing flood are residents of Edepie, Igbogene and Okutukutu towns, where some residents have been forced to vacate their homes and seek shelter elsewhere.
Speaking to newsmen, a resident of Captain Ayeni Road, Mr. Samuel Sunday-Elliot, said the rain has severely affected residents, businesses and schools in his area while calling on the state government to open natural water channels to ease their suffering.
Explaining further he said “whenever there is flood, there are many risks attached to it. I am talking about reptiles like snakes that are searching for higher ground to stay till the rainy season ends.
There are also rodents that are invading houses because everywhere is flooded. “The other day, I saw a poisonous spider in front of my house. If not that I was holding a torchlight that night, only God knows if it would have found its way into my house and hurt any member of my family.
“If you want to go out to buy anything, you have to put your feet into water that carries different kinds of diseases. In some areas, even though you are able to summon the courage to walk your way through the water, by the time you get to your house, the rooms will be flooded because water is coming out of the ground. People have started going through hell, even though the rains just started.
“I have come to realize that the Bayelsa State Government does not have the foresight to resolve this flood issue because it is only when they see flood, they will now bring excavators to start to clear grasses and dirt blocking the natural waterways.
“If they are serious at all, I expect them to use the dry season to properly clear the waterways and construct drainages that would enable free flow of rain and flood water during the rainy season. If you go round to town, roads in Yenagoa do not have proper drainages. So, it would require a lot of hard work and dedication”.
Another resident, Mr. Saiya Iyenimi, said to gain access to his house he has to walk a long distance through another street because his street is submerged by the flood.
Speaking about the cause of the flooding he said “many people built properties on natural water channels thereby preventing water from finding its way into the river.
“And if the government wants to put a permanent stop to this flooding, all properties built on natural water channels must be demolished irrespective of who owns the property.
“It is only through this way this flooding issue in Yenagoa metropolis can be resolved. If you go round, many persons have vacated their homes because water has taken them over. In fact, some landlords have lost their fences because the raging floodwater pushed them down”.
The State Commissioner for Environment, Hon. Iselema Gbaranbiri, at the weekend assured residents of the government’s readiness to mitigate the effect of flooding by opening up blocked water channels before the rains intensify.
The Commissioner gave the assurance after an on-the-spot assessment of some blocked canals and culverts in the city.
He frowned at structures built on some water channels, saying the actions of the people have hindered the free flow of water and has contributed immensely to the flash flood.
According to him, the Prosperity Government will act swiftly within its mandate to mitigate the impact of the flood on the people and called on Bayelsans to always know that the efforts of government can only make meaning if they play complementary roles.