The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has advocated urgent action by all stakeholders, states and local government to avert the impact of the current flood disasters that are ravaging communities in Nigeria.
The Director-General of NEMA, Mr. Mustapha Ahmed, made the call at an emergency technical meeting with stakeholders in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
The meeting was to review the emergency situation and plan for further action by all emergency responders.
He urged government of the frontline states to relocate persons in the flood zones to safer areas to avoid further disaster.
“I want to advise all the governments of the frontline states to move away communities at risk of inundation, identify safe higher grounds for evacuation of persons and preposition adequate stockpiles of food and non-food items, potable water, hygiene, safety and security to enable them have a fair level of comfort during periods of possible displacement.
“These actions become necessary as we collectively work towards a lasting solution to the annual threats of floods.
“I also call on the media to support NEMA in the sensitization of the public to enable them comply to early warning messages effectively.
“I implore the media, which has always proved to be a reliable partner of NEMA, to give us all the necessary support including communication in local languages,” he said.
Mr. Ahmed further explained that according to the NIHSA report, Kainji and Jebba dams have already started spilling excess water from their reservoirs, which will have serious consequences on frontline states and communities along the courses of Rivers Niger and Benue.
The Agency, however, says it is monitoring the situation:
“The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is monitoring the situation and will consider the activation Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs) to coordinate the flood disaster response in all the states at risk.
“In this regard, I seek for the full support of state governments, especially through their State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs) and other critical state level actors.
“Meanwhile, NEMA will continue working with the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) to downscale impact-based weather forecast to the public as the extreme weather event unfolds.”
The Director-General, Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Clement Nze, stressed that the Agency is monitoring the situation as the nation is in the critical months.
He noted that the Agency is in close contact with the Cameroonian authorities about flood scenarios in the Upper Catchment of the Sub-Basin.
“River Niger at Niamey, Niger Republic, is within the normal limits, as well as River Benue.
“However, impoundment of water into the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon is still in progress.
“Under normal circumstances it is usually around the 3rd week of September that the Dam reservoir could approach an elevation of 213m.
“The spillage of water can only take place once the reservoir level approaches 216m.
“There is no release of water from Lagdo Dam as the situation is being closely monitored by the Agency,” he explained.
Mr. Nze also noted 233 Local Government Areas (LGA’s) in 32 states of the federation and the FCT fall within the highly probable flood risks areas, while 212 LGA’s in 35 states of the federation including the FCT fall within the moderately probable flood risk areas. The remaining 329 LGA’s fall within the probable flood risks areas.
“The several states have already experienced a high degree of flooding incidents with attendant incalculable disasters and losses as at today, with the worst hit State as Jigawa.
He noted that virtually all the flood incidents were caused by the overflow of silted rivers and poor drainage systems as a result of localized rainfalls that generated flash/urban flooding in the urban areas.
Stakeholders recommended that states and the general public take preventive measures to avert the ugly flooding incidents of the past years and also some measures be taken to help forestall the menace of flooding for the nation’s socio-economic growth.
These measures include an improved system for flood monitoring; flood forecasting and flood early warning; and enforcement of town planning codes in the country to allow for the construction of housing and drainage structures as outlined by town planners.