Brace up for imminent flooding, NEMA warns Nigerians
Against the backdrop of the 2020 Annual Flood Outlook that 28states are at high risk of flood, the Director-General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Muhammadu Mohammed has raised concern that managing this year flood amid COVID-19 pandemic would be a herculean task.
Flood prediction by the Nigerian Hydrological Agency (NHSA) had indicated that 102 council areas in 28 states are at high risk of flood, 275 council areas in the 36 states including the FCT are at moderate risk while the remaining 397 falls within the low probable risk areas.
To this extent, Mohammed during a press conference in Abuja said, “2020 is going to be a year of ‘an incident within an incident’. With the Country battling Covid-19 pandemic, managing a flood disaster will be a herculean task.”
He explained with existing COVID-19 protocol which emphasizes physical distancing and the use of face masks, the flood may lead to the displacement of more people who will need to be sheltered in IDP Camps where people will be in close contact.
Mohammed, therefore, lamented that the IDP camps have already overstretched its health infrastructure. Displacement of more people, Mohammed believes will lead to a complex humanitarian situation in the country.
The NEMA DG regretted that in 2019 record showed that 130,934 people were affected by flood while 48,114 persons were displaced after about 29,356 houses were destroyed which led to the death of 126 people.
Mentioning that the flood predictions would have a devastating effect on the Agriculture, Water Resources, Health, Transport sectors, he stressed that all hands must be on deck to ensure that the country prepares well to mitigate the impact of the predicted 2020 flooding even in the midst of Covid-19 Pandemic.
Mohammad lamented that Nigerians are traditionally attached to their farmlands which will make relocating them at the time from flood-prone areas use to be very difficult.
He urged Nigerians to clear their drainages and take other precautions to ensure they remain safe during the raining period.
As part of government’s preparedness, NEMA DG said the agency had constituted a National Preparedness, Mitigation and Response to 2020 flood. He said the team had written to the states highlighting areas of likely flooding including actions that could be taken at state or local government level to mitigate.
Mentioning that the best mitigating method is to continue sensitizing the public as much as possible, he said they have started public enlightenment campaign on radio and TV jingles, social media targeting vulnerable communities to undertake mitigation actions and prepare for evacuation to safer ground;
He said they have also stock-pilled relief materials, food and non-food items that will be needed in providing succour to people that may be affected.