By Deji Elumoye
The worrisome issue of perennial flooding in some parts of the country will soon become a thing of the past as federal government has commenced moves to use satellite data to prevent flooding in the country.
Director-General of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Clement Nze, who made this disclosure in Abuja, stated that government had adopted the use of satellite data to boost its flood monitoring and prevention efforts in Nigeria.
The DG, who spoke at a workshop on the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security and Africa (GMES and Africa), said all hands were on deck to ensure that the use of satellite data to solve the nation’s flooding problems take off this year.
He said:” We are working on the issue of flooding in identified states across the country and with the introduction of advanced technology through data capturing via satellite the problem of flood will be well addressed henceforth.”
Nze disclosed that the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education (CSSTE) Consortium under the GMES and Africa Support Programme organized the online regional training on Sentinel 1, 2 and 3 Data.
According to him, the GMES and Africa Support Programme is a joint initiative of the Africa Union (AU) and European Union (EU) aimed at providing accurate, timely and easily accessible information to improve the management of the environment.
The programme, he further said, is also meant to understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security.
His words: “This training programme will focus on building capacity on the acquisition and use of Sentinel 1, 2, & 3 data: Processing and Application. Processing chain of Sentinel data to services including modelling, damage assessment and forecast services.
“It is pertinent to note that capacity building that was identified as one of the major pillars of the GMES and Africa support programme has led the CSSTE consortium to identify strategic training needs of its collaborating stakeholders on the Multi-Scale Flood Monitoring and Assessment Services for West Africa (MIFMASS) project.
Hence the need to train and empower stakeholders to sustain the benefits from the programme’s product and services.”
Nze added that the online workshop was primarily to equip the participants to understand and undergo detailed hands-on training on Copernicus data.
According to him, it is also to make them understand the use of Sentinel data for Flood Monitoring and Management and use of Sentinel Application Platform in Flood Management.
Also speaking Director General of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency NiMET, Professor Sani Mashi, noted that the capacity building initiative was timely especially with the increasing incidence of flash and riverine flooding across the West African Sub-region in recent years.
He said: “During the last decades, the trend in flood damages has been growing exponentially.
“Improved capacity to forecast, monitor and assess floods using Earth Observation Data is therefore an essential element in regional and national strategies to mitigate this annual event.
“Sustainable economic and social development requires that flood forecasting and warning systems for communities at risk, be continuously developed, which in turn demands an optimal combination of data, forecasting tools and well-trained specialists.
“A flood forecast system must also provide sufficient lead time for communities to respond.
I am confident that training of this nature will provide the useful skills and knowledge to all the trainees for planning to establish such forecasting system.”