By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Government has directed the management of 33 Local Government Areas, to conduct biometric data of residents who are prone to experience massive natural disaster this year. This came as the state government urged inhabitants in flood-prone areas to relocate to various relief centres close to their abode to avoid possible natural disaster arising from flooding.
This has become necessary following an alert by the Nigerian Hydrological Service Agency, NHSA warning of impending massive flooding in some states, including, Lagos.
Besides, the state government has directed its agencies to embark on massive sensitization across the state, to enlighten residents on the need to prepare for more rainfall and attendant flooding, as well as the need to clean up their drains in preparation for the season.
Director-General, and Chief Executive Officer, CEP, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, disclosed this, Thursday, at the flag-off of a roadshow, warning, sensitization and awareness exercise across LGAs in the state.
Oke-Osanyintolu stressed that the exercise was part of the proactive measures being put in place by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s led administration and demonstration of the high premium placed on the safety of lives and property.
“Therefore, in any event of flooding, I urge residents to be calm, cool and collected as Governor Sanwo-Olu’s administration has put adequate measures in place to ensure the safety of all.”
He continued: “And we have urged those living in flood plains to leave their houses and relocate to a safer place in their own interest.”
While noting that all key stakeholders have been put on red alert, Osanyintolu stressed that residents must also participate in reducing the impact of the flood in the state, saying, “they have to engage in proper sanitation.”
According to him, “Since we heard about the flood warning, we employed empirical strategy, going through our data and we discovered that of the 57 local governments in our state, 33 councils are prone to experiencing flooding annually.
“Realizing this, we have directed that the councils should conduct biometrics for the families that are living within communities that are vulnerable to flood. This, we believe, is very germane and we have urged those living in flood plains to leave their houses.
“Understanding that when they leave their homes, they need shelter, we immediately renovated and equipped the two relief camps in Agbowa, Ikorodu Local Government and Igando in Igando-Ikotun Local Council Development Area, LCDA, to accommodate victims of natural disasters.
“As we intensify our sensitization exercise, the ministry of health has commenced provision of additional equipment and renovation of the Primary Healthcare Centre, PHCs especially in the vulnerable local governments”.
He noted that the series of training has been conducted for emergency workers to reduce the time spent on a rescue operation.
Oke-Osanyintolu said, “We have put in place a contingency plan and have commenced simulation exercises to reduce time spent in rescue victims of natural disaster including flooding in Lagos.
“We have put all our key stakeholders on red alert. All of us will be on the street distributing handbills and other souvenirs to the people, to basically re-orientate them on what to expect as the rainy season intensified.
“Flood itself comes with secondary challenges, so the ministry of environment has been repositioned especially the drainage unit and they have commenced de-silt of the primary, secondary and tertiary drainages in the state.
“We are appealing to residents to clear the drainage in their house to ensure a free flow of wastewater in the state. And residents have been asked to desist from building on the drainage path because it prevents free flow if drains”.
The sensitization exercise which was an inter agencies effort had a roadshow to areas, such as Ketu-Ikosi LCDA, Ojodu, Ketu, Ifako LCDA and Ikeja LGA.
The collaborating agencies include Lagos State “Neighbourhood Safety Corps, Lagos State Fire Service, Civil Defence Corps, Police, Nigeria Red Cross Society, Emergency Medical Service, Nigeria Emergency Management Authority, NEMA, and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA.