The federal government announced that it has sent experts from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), and the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) to all 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, in preparation to manage the impending flood disaster in Nigeria. These experts will cascade early warning messages to all the relevant end users at risk of flood disaster and associated hazards.
In its Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) and Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) for 2023, NIMET and NIHSA, respectively, predicted an early start to rainfall and a high likelihood of flooding across the nation.
In his keynote address at the launch of grassroots early warning measures on Wednesday at the Akwa Ibom State Government House in Uyo, Director General of NEMA Alhaji Mustapha Ahmed revealed the deployment of specialists.
According to him, the purpose of the early deployment was to give those involved time to come up with measures that could save lives, livelihoods, important national assets, and the natural ecology.
Ahmed expressed optimism that the project would enhance disaster risk management, enable all players to make risk-informed decisions to prevent future flood occurrences, and promote sustainable socio-economic progress in Nigeria.
The DG praised Akwa Ibom State for its cooperation with the agency and revealed that the agency had written to all the state governors to alert them of impending floods and related secondary dangers during the rainy season in order to prevent a repeat of the flood disaster of 2022.
“In 2022, Nigeria experienced the worst devastating flood in our country’s history, affecting over four million people, displacing over two million, and resulting in a record 665 Nigerian deaths,” he continued. Additionally, the flood destroyed and damaged around 944,989 hectares of cropland and 355,986 homes.
The governor of Akwa Ibom State, Umo Eno, committed to continue the positive working relationship with NEMA established by the previous administration of the state, which was responsible for launching the early warning measures in the state.
In order to avert any further flood disasters in our state, Eno added, “previous administrations have established good working relationships with NEMA; we will continue to build on those.”
Deputy Governor Akon Eyakenyi said in her welcome speech: “We can’t wish calamity away, but proactive measures might lessen the effects of the crisis in our state.
“We won’t have anything to be afraid of if this meeting results in the planned action. We are grateful for NEMA’s numerous interventions in the state, particularly the current Special National Economic Livelihood Emergency Interventions, which provide aid to those who were affected by the state’s most recent fuel calamity in 2022.
“Natural catastrophes have struck Akwa Ibom State more than their fair share of times, and we cannot afford to be unprepared for similar incidents in the future. Building the capability of stakeholders in disaster management in state and local government areas is urgently needed.