Following this year’s prediction of high risk of flooding, Director General National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Mustapha Habib Ahmed said stakeholders must work together to avert the consequences of the forecast and build disaster resilience in communities across the country.
Addressing a technical meeting of experts convened by NEMA in Abuja to analyze the 2023 Seasonal Climate Prediction recently released by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and Annual Flood Outlook released by Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Mustapha Habib Ahmed assured that the Agency will do its best to escalate collective efforts towards efficient flood risk management in the country.
He said about the technical meeting that it has “become more relevant and timely in consideration of our recent experiences of wide spread floods and related disasters that affected several states. Many of the affected communities are yet to recover from the impacts of the devastating event. The 2022 flood coupled with its associated hazard is therefore a wake-up call for emergency responders and development partners to work assiduously to avert a repeat of the incident especially in consideration of the heightened level of vulnerability in several communities of our country.”
He urged participants at the meeting to carefully analyze the 2023 seasonal prediction and flood outlook to produce a comprehensive and well-articulated early warning messages including vulnerability and risk mapping that could be downscaled to the grassroots.
He further said “we cannot rest until we have built a critical mass of resilient Nigerian citizens that are conscious of their duty for care to one another and willing to take those actions that will save lives and safeguard livelihoods in the event of imminent disasters.”
He also added that “as emergency managers, we must always strive to develop a clear and practical early warning systems that will enable our partners and the public to match early warning with early action to avert loss of lives and severe disaster impacts across socio-economic sectors.”
In his remarks, the Director General of NIHSA Engr Clement Onyeaso Nze highlighted this year’s flood outlook which indicated that 314 Local Government Areas are at high risk of flooding between April and November with a total of another 312 LGAs falling within moderate flood risk areas.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Director Planning Research and Forecasting Hajiya Fatima Suleiman Kasim said the meeting is expected to produce the Disaster Risk Management Implication of the 2023 Seasonal Climate Prediction and Annual Flood Outlook. She said the strategies to be developed will aid “the relevant agencies to carryout preparedness and mitigative actions to safeguard lives, property, levelihoods and the environment in Nigeria.” These, she added will be used by all stakeholders in the disaster management cycle.
Participants at the meeting include technical experts from NiMet, NIHSA, academia, dam managers, States Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs), the Red Cross, etc.
NEMA HQ, Abuja
1st March 2023