I am extremely delighted to welcome the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq who is ably represented in this occasion. It is also my honour and pleasure to appreciate the presence of the Director General Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), the Director General Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and representatives of our numerous esteemed partner Agencies that are here present to witness this very important occasion of public presentation of the 2023 Climate-Related Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation Strategies for Nigeria.
Sequel to the public presentation of the 2023 Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) by NiMet on 24th January, 2023 and Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) by NIHSA on 17th February, 2023, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) convened a technical meeting to review the two forecast documents. The technical meeting was attended by experts from relevant stakeholder organizations that thoroughly appraised the risk implications of the forecasts and developed an early warning document based on thematic sectors covered by both NIHSA and NIMET. This document is expected to aid responsible organizations carry out preparedness and mitigation actions to safeguard lives, livelihoods, properties and the environment against hydro meteorological hazards in Nigeria during the 2023 rainy season and beyond.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, permit me to highlight excerpts from the SCP which predicted rainfall onset to be earlier than the long term average in most parts of the country. The prediction also indicated rainfall amounts range to be average and above average during the year. The exception to these are for parts of Yobe, Jigawa, Kano, Bauchi, Kaduna and the FCT that are likely to observe below-average rainfall. Furthermore, states that are expected to record rainfall amounts of 2700mm and above are Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom, Delta and Cross River.
Similarly, the 2023 AFO has revealed that a total of 66 Local Government Areas (LGAs) are at high flood risk in the months of April to June; 148 LGAs in July to September and 100 LGAs in the months of October and November. In addition, a total of 41 LGAs fall within the moderate flood risk areas in the months of April to June; 199 LGAs in the months of July to September and 72 LGAs in the months of October and November. This year’s forecast has indicated that there is a high risk of coastal flooding due to expected rise in sea level and tidal surge that may negatively impact agriculture, human settlements and transportation in Bayelsa, Delta, Lagos and Rivers States. Flash and urban floods are also forecasted over many cities and towns due to poor drainage systems and the lack of compliance to town planning and environmental regulations.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the forecasts have provided the much insights into what to expect ahead of this rain season. The reality is that this year may witness floods similar to what occurred last year if not more. You may recall that last year’s floods resulted in 665 deaths and injury to 3,181 persons nationwide. A total of 4,476,867 persons were affected; 2,437,411 persons displaced, about 944,989 farmlands were damaged and 355,986 houses were partially or totally destroyed by floods.
Since the release of the forecasts, NEMA has continued to engage relevant stakeholders to explore ways to mitigate against the risk of the predicted floods and other related hazards throughout the 2023 rainy season. It is in line with this that we are here today to formally present to the public the 2023 Climate-related Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation Strategies. The objective is to highlight the predictions of the year as contained in SCP and AFO including associated risks with recommendation of actions required to mitigate against identified hazards and provide appropriate early warning messages for public sensitization.
In NEMA, we believe that early warning must be matched with early action. Therefore, we have written letters and attached this document for dispatch to all the 36 State Governments and the FCT Administration with specific mention of LGAs at risk and actions that are expected to be taken by responsible authorities. We have also produced flood risk maps of areas at risk and uploaded on our official website and social media platforms for greater access by the public. NEMA has also commenced public sensitization through placement of flood early warning jingles, special discussions and advocacy across the states.
From the foregoing, it is important to emphasize that it is our desire that early warning alerts are matched with appropriate early actions especially at the community level. State Governments that are yet to establish Local Emergency Management Committees (LEMCs) in their respective Local Government Areas are encouraged to do so. Let me also advise the public to imbibe attitudinal change towards disaster risk reduction and take serious all advisories released by relevant authorities.
At this juncture, it is my honour to officially present the 2023 Climate-related Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation Strategies based on this year’s SCP and AFO as produced by NIMET and NIHSA respectively.
I Thank you all for being part of this event.