The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) announced on Wednesday that the flood this year is the worst in ten years, according to the figures at its disposal.
The Director General of NEMA, Mustapha Habib Ahmed, in his address at a one-day strategic workshop with Disaster Risk Management stakeholders in Abuja, stated that more than 100 communities are affected daily within the country.
The DG further said that as it is known globally, disaster issue generally has become a cross-cutting thematic area, straddling all facets of human endeavours and sectors when it occurs.
“It is, therefore, a collective responsibility as a people with a shared vision to endure that we build a resilient society for sustainable development through our statutory functions as spelt out in our various institutional enactments.
On the 2022 flooding, Ahmed said, “The numbers are still going up. Based on seasonal climate prediction, and the annual flood outlook released by NiMet and NIHSA. So the figures are still going up and communities and lives are seriously affected.
“I don’t have the figure accurately, but I think it has exceeded the 372 figure lives last released that have been lost so far.”
The NEMA DG stated regarding actions taken to lessen the effects of the disaster: “Disaster management, as they say, is local. It occurs; it affects a community inside a state, inside a municipal government.
“So the first responders are always the local government. We have written countless times to states that they should set up a local emergency management committee. NEMA cannot be in every community in Nigeria, there are 1000s of communities. The local government must step in first, the state when the capacity is exceeded, then NEMA comes.”
When asked why the calamity kept happening, he responded, “Perhaps they are not taking the reports we are delivering to them very seriously. We transmit the risk mapping to states, indicating risk regions and disaster-prone areas, as soon as the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) releases its report.
“So these states have all this information. With all this information` cannot be everywhere all the time but the states can start and NEMA can follow up.
“They didn’t respond to us, but we have written, that is the most important thing, we have written to them, given them the seasonal climate prediction and risk mapping and also identifying areas and advising them to set up the local emergency management committee.
“As it is, most states don’t have local emergency management committees in their states.”
On his part, Dr Daniel Obot, Director, Disaster Risk Reduction, NEMA, said that the workshop was aimed at sharing ideas with stakeholders on how to reduce disaster risks in the country.
“Before now, people know disaster in terms of relief intervention but with this workshop, all the stakeholders will deliberate at the national level on how to reduce the risks of disasters.
“And it is expected that they all take back what they have learnt to their various institutions and realign their activities to key into disaster risk reduction because when the risks are reduced, the impacts will be less.
“The effects and consequences will be less, so this event is to stimulate preparedness, prevention and create awareness on mitigation measures that will reduce the effects of disasters in our communities and nation as a whole,” he said.