Flood Alert: NEMA Set to Activate Emergency Operation Centers Across Nigeria

•As NiMet urges states, LGs to allocate 1% of annual budgets to early warning tools

By Kasim Sumaina

Following the flood incidences in many parts of the country, Director General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Mustapha Habib Ahmed said the Agency was already monitoring the situation to activate Emergency Operations Centres in the affected areas for search and rescue as well as conduct assessment to support the displaced persons.

Addressing a National Consultative Workshop convened to discuss about 2021 flood preparedness, mitigation and response in Abuja, the Director-General of NEMA Mustapha Habib Ahmed called on all stakeholders to work together in strengthening community resilience to flood in the country.

Ahmed hinted that, “as part of our collective responsibilities, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) need to always come together with a view to planning for effective response to flood, to save lives, avert destruction of properties and infrastructure. “

The NEMA DG said the workshop was imperative as one of the expedient steps necessary to collectively prepare for and provide strategies to strengthen flood risk mitigation and effective response among disaster management stakeholders in the country.

Highlighting the flood situation so far this year, he said there had been reported cases of flooding in 210 Local Government Areas in 32 States and Federal Capital Territory with attendant loss of lives, livelihoods and properties.

In view of the emerging situation, the Director General of NEMA said the workshop was also called to strategise and “define effective process that will allow stakeholders at State, Local Government and community levels to prepare sufficiently to mitigate as well as respond to anticipated climate risk and secondary hazards whenever the need arises.”

“NEMA will continue to count on the continuous cooperation and collaboration of all its stakeholders in collectively working towards saving lives, properties and attending to the distressed in our society, ” he added.

Similar, the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Thursday in Abuja called on states and local governments to as a matter of priority allocate one per cent (1%) of their annual budgets to enhance the development of early-warning tools for disaster risk reduction across the country.

NiMet, lamented that it was regrettable that with all efforts dedicated to the development of the early-warning tools and the analysis of their implications, governments, especially at the sub-national level failed to heed the advisories contained therein.

The agency had advised 34 States across the nation to prepare for three days of flash flood, noting that the occurrences could increased likelihood of cars skidding of the road, chances of car crashes, destruction of settlements, farmlands and bridges.

The Director General/CEO, NiMet, Prof, Mansur Bako Matazu, in his goodwill message at the National Consultative Workshop on 2021 flood preparedness, mitigation and response activities organised by NEMA in Abuja, noted that stakeholders must make concerted and deliberate efforts to, as much possible, strive to prepare very well to minimise flooding rather than always sitting back to manage its full occurrence.

Matazu, represented by the General Manager, Agro Meteorology, Mr. Haruna Zakari, advised that with the manner climate change events are unfolding globally, whereby a number of predictions are upturned, stakeholders must continue to come together to review and brainstorm on emerging extreme events happening within and outside the country to strategies on ways to address events as they unfold.

According to him, “We must develop a mechanism whereby all are engaged and tasked to continuously monitor and report on serious deviations that will counter to the predictions so that necessary measures are put in place to mitigate such deviations and the unwanted effects that may occur.”

Matazu, further lamented that despite the very useful early-warning tools issued annually and, updated periodically by both NiMet and NIHSA, that could be used to avert and minimise flooding across the country, “we still seem to not to find the right strategy to utilise these tools optimally to achieve that objective. I am referring here to the Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP), and the Annual Flood Outlook (AFO).”

Participants at the workshop were Executive Secretaries of all the State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs), representatives of Centres for Disaster Risk Management Studies from six universities and Heads of NEMA zonal, Territorial and Operations Offices.

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