Floods Kill 68, Wreak Havoc in 35 States, Says NEMA

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By Kasim Sumaina

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) revealed yesterday that no fewer than 68 people were killed across the country due to the devastating impact of flooding in 2020, which also affected 35 states of the federation as well as the nation’s capital.

NEMA also disclosed that 320 local government areas were destroyed, explaining that 129,000 people were affected while houses and farmlands were washed away across the country thereby impacting negatively on food security.

The Director-General of NEMA, AVM Muhammadu Muhammed (rtd.), who made the disclosure in Abuja at the 2020 Flood After Action Review Technical meeting, noted that an after-action review was geared towards improving performance by reflecting on activities or experiences, thereby avoiding past mistakes and replicating success.

Muhammed further stated that the review tool is a means to make the agency a high-reliability organisation, adding that it is one method NEMA had chosen to capture lessons learnt and identify recommended changes for implementation.

He said: “We’re aware of the challenges some SEMAs (State Emergency Management Agencies) are facing such as low capacity and use of ad-hoc staff causing inconsistency in response coordination with NEMA and other relevant stakeholders.

“Let me reiterate that we are determined to support SEMAs to build their capacities and enhance their response capability. This, to us, is one of the goals we have set for ourselves, which we believe deserves adequate attention.”

“NEMA in its 2020 Annual Flood Outlook forecast flooding in some parts of the country where 102 LGAs in 28 states fall within the Highly Probable Flood Risk areas, while 275 LGAs in the 36 States of the Federation including the FCT fall within the Moderately Probable Flood Risk areas. The remaining 397 LGAs fall within the Low Probable Flood Risk areas.

“These predictions were expected to have an impact on various sectors including agriculture, water resources, health, transport and infrastructure.”

He added: “2020 unfortunately has been a year of ‘an incident within an incident’, with the country battling COVID-19 pandemic, managing a flood disaster will be a herculean task.”

“We are gathered to learn lessons aimed at improving the national systems, preparedness, mitigation and response effectiveness towards future flood occurrences in Nigeria. I urge you to kindly accord this meeting the attention it deserves to achieve the desired objective in creating a resilient Nigeria.”