*Seeks DSS, Police assistance to clear Lokoja gridlock
Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) yesterday disclosed its commencement of the transportation of relief items from the National Strategic Reserve to all the states affected by flood in Nigeria
The items, NEMA stated would also be presented to the state government for distribution to vulnerable Nigerians.
Speaking to journalists after the 2022 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction event organised by NEMA in Abuja, the Director General, Mustapha Habib Ahmed disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari has also approved the release of 12,000 metric tonnes of assorted food commodities from the National Strategic Reserve for NEMA to distribute across the states to vulnerable Nigerians.
Reviewing the on-going flood situation in the country, Ahmed acknowledged that NEMA and its partners were grappling with large scale flood disaster across the country which more than 500 lives have been lost.
“Several properties destroyed and a large number of persons displaced in some of the disaster hotspots,” he said.
Ahmed said the relief materials would provide succor to persons affected by flood across the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He assured that the relief delivery would soon be completed to all other states this weekend, saying efforts have been made to address some challenges encountered in movement of the items due to condition of the roads that were covered by flood.
The NEMA Director General however said: “We have some hiccups along the way in Lokoja. I have alerted the DSS and Inspector General of Polic to help us in clearing the way so that relief items can continue to get to all relevant states.”
In a remark at the event, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq said all efforts must be made to address the challenges of flood situation in the country.
Commenting on the present flood situation, she said, “as a matter of fact, the scale of devastation can only be compared to the 2012 floods.
“More than 500 lives have been lost, more than 1.4 million persons affected, about 90,000 homes either partially or completely destroyed; and still counting.
“And also destroyed are thousands of hectares of farmland; thus, worsening fears of a disruption of food supply in Africa’s most populous country. These widespread cases are in 27 out of 36 States and the FCT.”
Farouq, represented by Director in the Ministry Alhaji Ali Grema, also said, “as we reflect on the present flood situation in Nigeria, let’s consider the focus of the 2022 IDDRR. Did we not have enough warnings or was our predictions and flood outlook wrong? Did we not act enough to prevent or mitigate what we are confronted with today?
“While we shall not apportion blames, we need to acknowledge the fact that we all had enough warning and our advocacy was timely. However, communities must recognise that all disasters are local and they must take climate predictions and flood outlooks warnings seriously.
“We can’t out rightly eliminate flood, but we can keep people safe. That responsibility is collectively ours,” she added.
She also said that her ministry and all relevant stakeholders were working on implementation of the National Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan that was recently approved by the Federal Executive Council.
“The plan stipulates specific roles and actions for all (including National, State and Local Governments as well as households, communities and pressure groups).
“The Ministry considers the importance of preventing deaths and loss of lives in a disaster that is predicted and occurs every year,” Farouq said.