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NDDC Boss Advocates Collaborative Efforts To Check Flood Disasters

Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku has called for collaborative efforts in mitigating the effects of perennial flooding in the Niger Delta region.

Ogbuku made the call during a one-day workshop on the implementation of flood disaster emergency response strategy across the Niger Delta region, organized by the NDDC Directorate of Environmental Protection and control in Port Harcourt.

The NDDC Chief Executive Officer workshop, which focused on the theme: “Enhancing Resilience; Mitigating Flood Disasters in the Niger Delta,” showed the importance the Commission attached to the need to address the challenges of flood disasters in Nigeria’s oil-rich region.

He stated: “The Niger Delta, characterised by its distinctive topography and proximity to water bodies, experiences frequent flooding. Coastal and riverine communities, situated in low-lying areas, are especially at risk. Recent data indicates that from January 2021 to April 2023, flooding led to more than 100 fatalities in the region. As we approach the peak of the rainy season, urgent measures are necessary to minimize flood impact.”

Ogbuku stressed the need for proactive measures in dealing with flood disaster management, noting that all intervening organisations must demonstrate commitment to ensuring a safer and more resilient future for Niger Deltans.

He observed: “Our success in mitigating flood disasters hinges on collaboration. We must work closely with local communities, state governments and Non-Governmental Organisations, NGOs, as well as international partners.”

The NDDC boss acknowledged the existential threat posed by Climate Change, noting that it was capable of causing huge devastation in the Niger Delta region, with enormous socio-economic impacts.

He remarked that the NDDC was currently building multi-purpose emergency shelters across the Niger Delta region, stating that the project was conceived as a response to the frequent flooding challenges faced by Niger Deltans.

According to Ogbuku, the emergency shelters, which could accommodate over 1,000 persons, was designed to serve as a temporary place of refuge during flood emergencies.

According to him, the facility includes essential amenities such as a school, hospital, cafeteria, police post, and recreation center, which would provide comprehensive support to the communities in times of distress.

“When completed, the emergency shelters will provide temporary accommodation and necessary services to the communities in the event of emergencies. We realised that during flood periods, displaced people take shelter in school buildings and this comes at a great cost because the schools are forced to suspend academic activities.”

In his Keynote address, a former National President, Nigerian Cartographic Association and keynote speaker, Professor Andrew Obefemi, advised intervention agencies to initiate more enduring measures to mitigate the perennial flood in the Niger Delta region, noting that the challenge of ravaging flood in the region would be addressed holistically.

Prof. Obafemi, who spoke on: “Understanding the Niger Delta Context, Present Data on Historical Floods, Vulnerable areas and Existing Infrastructure, harped on the need for information and relevant data to ward off flood disasters. He said that projects such as the Niger Delta Environmental Survey were necessary for a reliable data bank.

Earlier in his welcome address, the NDDC Director, Environmental Control and Protection, Engr. Onuoha Obeka, lamented that the Niger Delta region, known for its rich biodiversity and vital economic contribution to Nigeria, has unfortunately been plagued by recurring flood disasters.

He highlighted the need for a robust and efficient emergency response strategy to mitigate the impact of the disasters and to protect the lives and livelihoods of the people in the region.

Obeka said that the workshop would help NDDC to find ways to enhance a collective capacity to respond effectively to disasters and fortify the resilience of communities in the face of adversity.

He explained:“This workshop serves as a platform for us to share knowledge, best practices and innovative strategies aimed at bolstering our emergency response mechanisms and promoting sustainable recovery efforts in the aftermath of flood disasters.”

“Implementing initiative of providing water level gauges/sensors at strategic positions around the river sytem in the region will provide an early warning mechanism that can help to evacuate people before considerable havoc is wrecked during the flood events.”

“Let us embrace the spirit of unity. empathy and determination. Let us draw inspiration from the resilience and strength of the people of the Niger Delta and commit ourselves to building a more resilient and prepared region that can withstand the trials of nature and emerge stronger in the face of adversities.”

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