By Olayinka Ajayi
The Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) Lagos State Branch, has said it will focus on risk reduction, particularly flood mitigation, in order to reduce the impact of disasters in the state.
Speaking Chairman, Lagos State NRCS, Mrs Adebola Kolawole, said Red Cross would collaborate with both the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), as well as the state Ministry of Environment.
Kolawole stated this on Wednesday during an event marking 2021 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (IDDRR) in Lagos.
The event was organised by the NRCS in collaboration with the British Red Cross.
IDDRR is celebrated annually on Oct. 13 to acknowledge the progress made toward reducing disaster risk and loss of life and livelihoods.
Kolawole, who was represented by the Vice Chairman, Mr Adebola Folawewo, said natural disasters and climate change negatively impacted communities, leading to losses, including mortality, damage to infrastructure and displaced people.
She added that the major challenge in disaster mitigation was the knowledge gap of people in the communities.
“Many people don’t know what should be done; they don’t know what they should do and the impact of what they do to their communities.
“They don’t know what climate change is and how it affects us every day,” she said.
Kolawole urged Lagos residents to seek knowledge, so they could play their roles in enhancing their livelihoods.
Similarly, Mr Benson Agbro, Disaster Management Coordinator, NRCS, National Headquarters, said flooding was a major issue in Lagos State because of the effects of climate change.
“Water is being released from dams and this body of water comes down to states like Lagos and wash over some of the communities,” he said.
He said to mitigate the risks and the effects resulting from hazards, Red Cross would continue to work with partners, including the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
Agbro added that the humanitarian body would also train its members and members of the society in its programmes.
Also, Mr Azeez Afunku, Asst. Chief Relief and Rehabilitation Officer, NEMA, said disasters could be prevented if the threat and activities that triggered them were nipped in the bud.
Afunku said NEMA would continue to raise awareness of the threats through sensitisation programmes in communities proned to flooding.
He added that flooding could be mitigated through continuous monitoring and evaluation, clearing of canals and demolition of structures on the waterways.
On his part, Mr Bankole Michael, Asst. Director, Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, urged Lagos residents to observe hygienic protocols through proper waste disposal to reduce flooding.
“When we stop building on drainage channels and alignments, then we are on the way to have a flood-free Lagos,” he said.