The National Emergency Management Agency says the Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) issued by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) has stimulated forecast-based disaster preparedness which helps in reducing the numbers of lives, property and livelihoods lost to the flood disaster.
The Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani Sidi stated this at a workshop on the application of the seasonal rainfall prediction to climate sensitive sectors organized by NIMET at the weekend in Abuja.
Represented by the Ag. Director, Planning, Research and Forecasting, Alhasan Nuhu the DG said in 2013 there was flood but the agency recorded a decrease in the number of persons affected to less than one million while 38 people lost their lives and 160 people were displaced. Compared to the devastating 2012 flood disaster, there was a significant reduction in the number of those affected. He attributed the success recorded to sensitization campaign embarked upon by the agency based on Seasonal Rainfall Prediction and Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency (NIHSA) 2013 annual flood outlook.
He said based on the 2013 prediction NEMA had carried out preparedness activities which included convening of a meeting of all stakeholders to critically analyze the prediction. The meeting came up with the Early warning message highlighting the implications and recommendations in those sectors of the socio-economy that were climate sensitive. He added that a national workshop was also organized to disseminate early warning messages which focused on the lessons learnt from the 2012 flood disaster in the country.
The DG further stated that the agency in its preparedness had stockpiled relief materials in all the zonal offices and at the head office, acquired equipment in readiness for flood disaster, identified vulnerable communities and safe grounds in all vulnerable communities as temporary shelter locations.
He identified some challenges of seasonal rainfall prediction (SRP) as lack of outreach to key stakeholders at the most basic levels, poor communication of forecasts , lack of trust in forecast and low capacity to act on the forecasts.
Earlier, the Director General Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Dr. Anthony Anuforom said the theme of the workshop was carefully chosen to emphasis the enormous benefit that could be derived from proper interpretation and application of SRP in planning and decision making as well as programme and projects in weather sensitive sectors of the economy. He said SRP was one of the NIMET early warning products that contains vital information for weather disaster risk reduction and mitigation, especially in those sectors that are dependent on or affected by rainfall and temperature.
He noted that extreme weather and climate condition occurred more frequently and with greater intensity and often result in huge economic losses.
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