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Govt describes 2012 flood as nation’s worst

The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has described the 2012 flood as the worst incident which affected over seven million people in the country.

Flooded parts of Lokoja in Kogi State in 2012

Its Minister, Hajiya Sadiiya Umar Farouq, said this on Monday, May 31, 2021 at a technical stakeholders’ meeting to review the draft National Multi-Sectoral Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan.

Farouq, therefore, gave assurance that government would strengthen response to disaster.

The minister noted that each year, many people lose their lives, loved ones, homes and sources of livelihood to flooding.

“In 2012, which is arguably the worst flood incident in the country, over seven million persons were affected, but the Federal Government is poise to strengthen response and mitigation of disaster.

“Flooding has also been exacerbated in both frequency and magnitude due to climate change, other humanitarian crises, and quite frankly poor coordination of flood risk management cycle from a policy and operational point of view.

“It is against this background that in August 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari directed this ministry to works with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and other relevant MDAs as well as relevant stakeholders.

“The aim was to develop a National Plan that will coordinate various flood management responses and interventions across the country, to reduce the impact of floods.

“In carrying out the presidential directive, the ministry hosted an Inter-Ministerial Committee meeting with the Ministers and Heads of Agencies of over 17 ministries, departments, and agencies in September 2020,” she said.

Farouq said the outcome of that meeting was the inauguration of an Inter-Ministerial Technical Working Group.

She said the group was tasked with the responsibility of drafting a National Multi-Sectoral Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan being presented (on Monday).

Farouq said the technical group that drafted the plan included Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

“Therefore, we are advocating for an Integrated Flood Management approach where flooding is effectively managed using multi-sectoral expertise, and flood waters are harnessed for beneficial purposes such as agriculture, electricity, etc.

“This is to paint a picture of how cross-cutting flood issues are in Nigeria and why we are holding a stakeholder review today,’’ Farouq said.

Meanwhile, Dr Abubakar Suleiman, the Deputy Director, Humanitarian Affairs Department in the ministry, who presented the draft, said it has 75 pages and eight chapters.

Participants from NIHSA, NEMA, and NiMet participated in the review.

Others were representatives of Sate Emergency Management Agencies from FCT, Benue, Ekiti, Delta, Oyo, Kogi, Anambra, Niger Adamawa and Bayelsa states.

By Collins Yakubu-Hammer

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