File Photo: Flood

By Joseph Erunke – Abuja

FOLLOWING the Seasonal Climate Prediction for 2021 by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency, NiMet,the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA,has said it would activate emergency operations centres for search and rescue and needs assessment as the need arises.

This was as NEMA tasked ministries, departments and agencies to come together with plan for effective response.

Director General of the agency, Mustapha Habib Ahmed,who said this,Thursday,in a keynote address he delivered at the National Consultative Workshop on 2021 Flood Preparedness,Mitigation and Response in Nigeria,held in Abuja,explained that the action was part of its readiness to respond to the prediction.

“The agency will activate the emergency operations centres for search and rescue and needs assessment as the need arises,” he said,explaining that the “consultative meeting aimed at improving disaster management in the country.”

” This national workshop is one of the expedient steps necessary to collectively prepare for and provide strategies to strengthen flood ris,mitigation and effective response among disaster management stakeholders in the country.

“This workshop,therefore has become more necessary considering the annual rainfall amount which was predicted to be normal to above normal in Nigeria according to Seasonal Climate Prediction for 2021 by NiMet.

” In addition, the 2021 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) has also forecasted flood situations for different parts of the country. The AFO informed that 121 local government area in 27 states and F.C.T fall within the highly probable risk areas, while 302 local government areas in the 36 states of the federation including the FCT fall within the moderately probable flood risk area.

” The remaining 351 local government areas fall within the low probable flood risks areas. Already, there are reported cases of flooding in 210 local government areas in 32 states and FCT with attendant loss of lives, livelihood and properties,”he said.

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He charged MDAs thus:”As part of our collective responsibilities Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) need to always come together with the view to plan for effective response to flood, to save lives, destruction of properties and infrastructures.”

According to him,”Since the release of Climate Prediction by NiMet and flood outlook by NIHSA, NEMA carefully planned series of activities relating to flood preparedness, mitigation and response measures, most of which have been implemented.”

He said NEMA organized stakeholders’ technical meeting to extensively analyze the socio-economic and disaster management implications with regards to climate sensitive sectors of the economy which includes water resources, agriculture/food security, health, infrastructure and transport;Produced and disseminated disaster risk management implications of 2021 Seasonal Climate Prediction to state governments and stakeholders and sent advisory letters and maps showing predicted flood risk areas in the various states to their state governments.

He also said NEMA oroduced flood maps for vulnerable LGAs as forecasted by NIHSA’s 2021 AFO;rganized press conference by the DG and media appearances by Directors and Heads of Zonal, Territorial and Operations Offices;carried out public awareness and sensitization campaigns by NEMA zonal, territorial and operations offices:stockpiled relief materials for assistance to flood victims among others.

Ahmed commended “all NEMA stakeholders for their performances in the recent past and request that we deliberate to define effective processes 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. No one ministry, department or agency can do it alone. However, together we can achieve a lot more,” he added.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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