Borno floods force Zulum to relocate to Damboa

*5 states still at risk this year, it warns

*Seeks evacuation of residents of prone areas

*Sends delegation to Cameroon for

bilateral discussion on the periodic opening of dam

By Joseph Erunke, ABUJA

As Nigerians continue to lament the impacts of flooding across the country, the federal government has said the country was not yet out of the wood, disclosing that five states are still at risk of experiencing flooding up to November, this year.

This came as it disclosed that the natural disaster claimed 603 lives, affected 2,504,095 persons and displaced 1,302,589 persons across the country.

Similarly, the government disclosed that the disaster injured 2,407 persons, partially damaged 121,318 houses, totally damaged 82,053 houses, partially damaged 108,392 hectares of farmlands and totally damaged 332,327 hectares of farmlands, all across Nigeria.

The government which named the states still at risk this year as Anambra, Delta, Cross River, Rivers and Bayelsa, have called for the immediate evacuation of residents of the identified areas to avert a catastrophic outcome.

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, who disclosed these at a press conference in Abuja, on Sunday, in Abuja, tasked the governments of the respective states, local government councils and communities to “prepare by evacuating people living on flood plains to high grounds, providing tents and relief materials, fresh water as well as medical supply for a possible outbreak of water-borne disease.”

The minister said the government had initiated a bilateral discussion with authorities in Cameroon next month (November 2022) on the periodic opening of the Lagdo dam.

” The delegation to Cameroon is to be led by the Permanent Secretary and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be requested to facilitate it,” she said.

She expressed sadness over the loss of lives and destruction of property occasioned by the recent flooding across the country.

She said,”The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development is concerned that despite all our efforts of averting the consequence of the 2022 flooding season, unfortunately, we have recorded the loss of over 500 lives, partial or total damage of more than 90,000 houses, damage of more than 140, 000 hectares of farmland, so many roads and other critical infrastructures were also affected.”

“You all will recall that on Tuesday, 15th February 2022, the Nigerian Metrological Agency released the 2022 Seasonal Climate Prediction informing us that the rains of 2022 will be heavier and longer. Furthermore, on Thursday, 12th May 2022, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency released the Annual Flood Outlook. Immediately after these two releases, the National Emergency Management Agency was all out, armed with the scientific releases from the two agencies, in the media and went to all states and FCT, warning of expected floods and advising on mitigating and preparedness actions they need to take to minimize losses and damages.

“I also briefed the National Economic Council on 22nd September 2022, where I outlined preparedness strategies that all state governments should take to mitigate the 2022 floods.  

“I have laid this background so that you will appreciate the concern of this Ministry that despite all these efforts, we still appear to have become overwhelmed by the flood when it came.

“However, in response to the 2022 flood situation, I directed the Permanent Secretary to convene an emergency technical stakeholder meeting of all responsive agencies to strategies immediate response to the situation. That meeting was held on the 11th of October 2022 and they all have formulated plans and strategies for response,” she further said.

“The meeting, among other things, resolved that: “Although flood has become an annual disaster with devastating consequences and the effect of Climate Change makes it difficult to prevent in Nigeria, it can be mitigated and managed

“There was enough warning and information about the 2022 flood but states, local governments and communities appear not to take heed; thus the meeting agreed to form a high-powered delegation to state governors to advocate for more commitment to strengthen state response mechanisms as stipulated in the National Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan.”

She said,”Stakeholders will work within their respective mandates to prevent deaths due to flood or other health-related diseases that are the aftermath.”

She spoke further: “For a coordinated flood response protocol, the meeting agreed to implement the National Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan; Accordingly, the sectoral approach to flood management at the National and Sub-National levels must be absolutely implemented; It was further emphasized that there was the need for State Governments to invest in flood management and lead on community base flood early warning systems; hence the meeting called on State Governments to take greater responsibilities for flood preparedness and response; 

“It was agreed that it has become necessary to compel all state governments to strengthen their State Emergency Management Agencies,

SEMAs and Local Emergency Management Committees, LEMCs, through a legal instrument, so that they can have improved access to funds and personnel for effective disaster preparedness and response.”

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