… says over 300 lives lost to flood in 8 months
By Fortune Eromosele
The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has urged states in the country to set up local emergency committees for swift response and disaster management.
Director-General, NEMA, Mustapha Habib Ahmed, made the call at a strategic workshop with stakeholders on disaster risk reduction/management in Abuja.
He assured that NEMA would continue in delivering its service and mandate to the nation, but that the involvement of states in setting up local emergency management committees go a long way in assisting NEMA on delivering its duties.
Ahmed said, “Disaster management as they say is local. It hits a community within a local government and within a state. The first responders is always the local government. We have written countless times to states that they should set up local emergency management committee.
“NEMA cannot be in every community in Nigeria, there are thousands of communities. The local government must step in first, then when it is beyond their capacity, NEMA comes in.
“As it is most states don’t have local emergency management committee, we can’t be everywhere at the same time, we have written to them severally and we expect their response.”
The DG NEMA disclosed that over 300 lives have been lost to floods in eight months, adding that the Agency gets 50 alerts in a day and that over 100 communities are hit by flood in one day.
He said, “If you look at the statistics, the flood that has hit this country and communities is the worst. We get more than 50 alerts in a day. We get over 100 communities hit in one day. The disaster this year is worse than 2012 and the figures are still going up. Over 300 lives have been lost to flood alone this year.”
Fielding questions from journalists on why disasters still hit communities despite warnings, Ahmed said, “They don’t take our reports seriously. Immediately NiMET releases their report, we send the risk mapping to states, identifying risk areas, areas that will be hit by disaster.
“These states have all these information, with all these information we expect states to develop mitigation strategies.”