Bayelsa State Government has expressed disappointment with the poor handling of the supply of relief materials to the state by the National Emergency Management Agency.
The Chairman of the Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and a member of the Flood Management and Mitigation Taskforce, Walamam Igrubia expressed his disappointment at a press briefing in Yenagoa on Thursday.
Igrubia further described as misleading a press release from the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, alleging that 21 states affected by flood in the country, including Bayelsa, had received food items and other relief materials from NEMA. He said such items were not supplied to the state.
He said so far, relief materials received from NEMA as of Thursday, October 27, are non-food items such as mosquito nets, bathing soaps, and clothing materials.
According to him, the materials were received days after the Ministry of Humanitarian and Disaster Management told journalists that it had provided relief materials.
The SEMA chairman further said relief materials received from the Federal Government included 598 cartons of bathing soaps, 15 bags of mosquito nets, and 41 bales of Guinea brocade. Others include 4 bags of men’s wear, 5 bags of women’s wear, and 2 bags of children’s wear.
He questioned the rationale behind NEMA’s decision to consider non-food or medicine items as a priority in a crisis where people are in short supply of essential food items due to the flood and the resultant cutting off of the road access to the state.
Igrubia insisted that the state government is unimpressed with the way federal agencies are managing the humanitarian crisis in Bayelsa.
He reiterated that no food items have been received from NEMA in the state and appealed to the Federal Government to expedite action by sending food materials through the waterways or by air to avoid a looming food crisis.
The SEMA chairman however said that the state government procured and has been airlifting food and other relief materials in collaboration with the Nigerian Air force and through the waterways.
According to him, the state government is taking charge to ensure that food is made available to all residents.
He said the state government had been meeting with marketers to push down the price of commodities and ensure the availability of petroleum products in the state.