Nigerian communities, taking proactive measures to mitigate impact of impending floods
Aug. 7, 2020 – Following warnings of impending flooding from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), states and communities in Nigeria are taking proactive measures to mitigate the impact on its people.
Director-General of NEMA, AVM Muhammadu Muhammed earlier in July said the 2020 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction has envisaged normal and above normal rainfall in Nigeria, meaning, some places are expected to have above normal rainfall.
This Muhammed said might result in flood, stating that some communities have started to experience flash floods, with associated impacts.
To this end, the NEMA DG called on State governments and communities to take proactive measures to mitigate the impact of the predicted flooding: relocating from low lands, avoid dumping refuse on water ways.
Muhammed in a bid to mitigate disaster and save lives also inaugurated a special committee to adequately prepare, respond and provide supports to flood-prone communities.
Some state governments heeding to this have commenced sensitaization campaigns and warnings in flood prone communities, with a key message to commuters to stop dumping of refuse on water ways.
In Niger State, Mrs Lydia Wagami, Head of Operations, NEMA Operations Office, Mina during the Flood Preparedness, Mitigation and Response Sensitisation in Maikunkele, Bosso Local Government Area of the state warned against dumping refuse on waterways.
Wagami, represented by Alhaji Hussein Isah, Head Search and Rescue Unit in the office,warned against indiscriminate dumping of refuse in drainage and water channels as well as building on flood plains.
“It is pertinent to note that we are still expecting more rains and we have already started receiving reports of flood disasters around the state,” she said.
She advised vulnerable communities to be proactive by cleaning their culverts and drainage and stressed the need for communities downstream to relocate to higher grounds.
In Plateau, NEMA in partnership with some stakeholders on Thursday began the evacuation of refuse on waterways in Jos.
According to Mr Eugene Nyelong, North-Central Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, the exercise becomes necessary following predictions by relevant agencies that some areas in Plateau are prone to flood.
“Earlier in the year, the Nigeria Meteorological Services Agency (NIMET) and the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) had in their Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP).
“And the Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) respectively, predicted that there would be flood in some parts of the country.
“They projected that some local government areas in the country and in our case, Barkin Ladi is among the highly probable flood risk areas.
“Pankshin; Jos North; Jos South; Jos East; Kanke; and Mangu are also among the moderately probable flood risk local government areas.
“This timely and important information has helped us to design proactive programmes such as this and will be unfolding subsequently across the three states of Benue, Plateau and Nassarawa.
“We are here in Rikkos to mitigate the impact of flood by clearing the ways to ensure free flow of water,” he said.
Nyelong stated that NEMA was collaborating with relevant agencies such as Plateau State Emergency (SEMA), Plateau Environmental Protection and Sanitation Agency (PEPSA), Nigerian Cross Society among others to achieve the goal.
The zonal coordinator stated that prior to the evacuation of refuse, the agency held community senstisation and preparedness for flood disaster/emergency in the communities identified to be flood prone.
He pointed out that there was need to develop capacity and build community resilience to help mitigate those challenges that have, unfortunately become recurrent decimal.
In Cross Rivers State, 14 local government areas in Cross River have been marked to be vulnerable to flooding, following the predictions of May.
Mr Walson Brandon, South South Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, in a sensitization programme for residents of Calabar Municipality and Calabar South local government areas also warned against blocking of water ways.
According to him, most of the flooding in some areas can be controlled if residents take early precautions and safety measures.
He said that 254 communities in the 14 councils were proned to flooding, adding that NEMA would carry out sensitisation campaign there to ensure early preparations.
He said that the areas prone to flooding include Calabar South, Calabar Municipality, Akpabuyo, Abi, Obudu and Odukpani.
Brandon said other areas are Yakurr, Obubra, Yala, Bakassi, Boki, Ogoja, Bekwarra and Biase.
“NEMA is carrying out this sensitisation of vulnerable flood communities in Cross River following the release of 2020 Annual Flood Outlook by NIMET.
“The forecast captured 14 local government areas in Cross River to be affected and this will spread across 254 communities in the state,” he said.
Mitigating the impact of flooding is a responsibility of everyone, hence the need for commuters and residents to heed to safety precautions to avoid devastating consequences of flooding.