The Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Muhammad Sidi, has urged governments at all levels and stakeholders to collaborate to enhance the resilience of citizens vulnerable to flood.
Sidi, represented by Mr Fagbemi Kayode, the Director of Research and Forecasting in the agency, made the call during a flood awareness campaign for early warning and early action for all stakeholders.
The campaign was organised by the agency’s Gombe Operations Office in Jalingo.
Sidi, who described the 2012 flood disaster that ravaged many states as unprecedented, said that its attendant hazards should serve as a wake up call to governments and communities to take responsibility for disaster risk reduction.
“Floods are natural phenomenon which should not necessarily result in disasters if people and their property are not vulnerable.
“We must, therefore, ensure that people don’t build on flood plains, ensure that all drains are cleared and all impediments to free flow of rivers and flood water are removed.”
The NEMA boss disclosed that over seven million people were affected by the 2012 flood disaster, with 2.5 million displaced and 363 persons killed, and 597,476 houses destroyed.
He explained that the agency had recruited and trained Grassroots Emergency Volunteers and established Disasters Risk Management Centres in six federal universities, among other initiatives designed to respond to disasters.
In his address at the occasion, the Acting Gov. of Taraba, Alhaji Garba Umar, commended the Federal Government for granting N400 million Flood Intervention Fund to the state last year.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Garvey Yawe, the acting governor said: “We register our appreciation to the Federal Government for assisting the victims of the 2012 flood disaster with N400 million.”
He said that the money had assisted in reducing the hardships experienced by the affected communities.