Kassim Sumaina in Abuja
In bid to reposition the country against the impact of natural disasters, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in collaboration with stakeholders has said it is set to review the National Contingency Plan (NCP).
The agency stated that the plan review would save many lives from preventable natural disasters.
The Director-General, NEMA, Mustapha Maihaja, commended his counterparts, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), for their efforts and consistency in releasing weather-related information, including SRP, Flood Outlook and other weather monitoring bulletin.
Maihaja, however, assured the public that NEMA in collaboration with relevant stakeholders will put together in a simplified manner the disaster risk management implication for the 2019 Seasonal Rain Prediction (SRP).
He gave the hint at a two-day Technical Workshop on Disasters Risk Management Implication of NiMET’s 2019 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) yesterday in Abuja.
According to him, relevant stakeholders can also use the national contingency plan as justification for organisational preparedness, using the roles that had been assigned to them in the plan.
He said the impact of disasters on lives, properties and environment depends on the country’s level of preparedness, which relies on efficient early warning systems.
Maihaja, who was represented by NEMA Director of Search and Rescue, Air Commodore Akugbe Iyamu, said: “In 2018, NiMet and NIHSA released weather and hydrological information for the country, especially on the possibility of flooding in certain locations, upon which NEMA and other stakeholders acted on.
“Consequently, the flood affected some parts of the country, which led to the declaration of national disaster in 12 states by the agency.
“The flood affected 129 local government areas and a total of 2,321,592 people. In all, 199 deaths were recorded, while 4,107 people were injured resulting in over 600,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).”
Speaking further, he said: “The damages to property and agricultural land were also massive as over 100,190 houses were damaged and 382,368 agriculture crop lands were destroyed.
“The flood also affected water, sanitation and the people’s hygiene facilities,” pointing out that the release of the 2018 SRP serves as an excellent tool for all relevant stakeholders against any potential hazard.
The NEMA DG expressed optimism that the workshop would proffer recommendations to cushion anticipated effects of the predictions.
According to him, “This document, when produced, will be disseminated to all the relevant stakeholders to prompt them to take the necessary actions required to facilitate disasters risk reduction process in their areas of jurisdictions.”
Similarly, Director of Planning, Research and Forecasting of NEMA, Mr. Kayode Fagbemi, stated that the agency would map out vulnerable communities based on the prediction as indicated by climate risk monitoring agencies.
The move, Fagbemi hinted, would enhance and direct enlightenment campaign in critical states.
“The reports at the end of the workshop will provide information on disaster management implications on agriculture, water resources, health and infrastructure,” he said.