By Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has disclosed that no fewer than 13 lives were lost to flash floodings that ravaged some parts of the FCT, in the past three years.
The Director General of FEMA, Abbas Idris, stated this on Wednesday at the flag off of the 2019 assessment tour of flood prone area councils of the FCT.
He said from statistics, five persons died in year 2017, while seven persons, out of which two were children, who drowned in a river, died last year.
This year, one life has been lost to flood incident.
“I want to strongly appeal to the community leaders and their subjects to take greater responsibility for flood risk prevention. There is no reason why lives of this magnitude, beside property, should be lost despite flood awareness programmes carried out across communities year in year out,” Idris said.
He said nobody can safeguard communities from flood and other dangers except the communities are willing to safeguard their lives.
He challenged the community leaders to ensure compliance with sensitisation messages on proper waste disposal and avoidance of building or farming on water ways, while parents should also caution their children against risk behaviours such as swimming during raining season when the water level is high.
The 2019 assessment tour of flood prone area councils was flagged off by FCT Permanent Secretary, Chinyeaka Ohaa.
Ohaa decried the indiscriminate dumping of refuse by residents on waterways, which he attributed to be the main cause of flooding in Abuja.
“Unfortunately, flooding has become a recurring incident in some of our communities, even in normal rainfall seasons. This is largely due to human influences especially the persistent attitude of residents dumping refuse in drainage system, farming activities by river banks and building on water ways which are violations of laid down environmental laws. We must break away from this costly cycle of recurring flooding and attitudinal change by all residents remains key,” Ohaa said.
He added that the administration had perfected plans to strengthen the impact of sanitary inspectors across the six area councils to enforce strict compliance with issues of sanitation and the Land Use Act.
He vowed that the administration will not relent in the demolition of buildings constructed on waterways in clear violation of relevant laws because of the overall interest of the public safety.
He also commended FEMA for living up to its responsibilities by implementing programmes aimed at ensuring safety of lives and property of residents of Abuja.