The Federal Ministry of Environment will soon upgrade its web-Based Flood Early Warning System (FEWS) for better forecasting and monitoring of flooding in the country, an official said on Monday.
Mr Johnnie Ekanem, the Deputy Director in charge of flood forecasting, monitoring and control in the Department of Erosion, Flood Control and Coastal Management in the ministry, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Ekanem said that the ministry would continue to adopt digital early warning models, to check conditions that could lead to flood disaster.
“The web early warning system is something that is upgradable. It is a device that is attached to the memory of a computer system and it is connected to the satellite.
“Presently, we have about 307 FEWS nationwide and we are creating a platform to upgrade them, to enhance their functionability.
“We have added some system analysis that will enable us to filter information from there and send to respective states.
“So, we will upgrade the system to allow us filter information available to different states and send them to different and specific locations.”
NAN reports that FEWS is an integrated package of data collection and transmission equipment, forecasting mode ls, response plans and procedures.
It involves human resources working together with the sole objective of empowering individuals and communities threatened by flood, to act in sufficient time and appropriate manner.
The aim of acting in appropriate manner is to reduce the possibility of personal injury, loss of life and damage to property and the environment.
The deputy director explained that the web-based model enables subscribers to have access to predictions through the Internet website address.
He added that this would clear doubts or panic as subscribers would have direct access to information needed for them to work upon rather than relying on rumours.
In addition, he said that the ministry would, through its community-based Early Warning System, sensitise vulnerable communities on flood predictions and the impact of climate change.
“We will go to communities and carry out awareness campaigns on flood management and tell them things to watch out for in order not to lose their lives and property in case of flooding.”
Ekanem said that the ministry had also installed Automated FEWS facilities in Ogun-Osun River Basin and Benin-Owena River Basin in the country.
“We have been trying to increase the number but we are constrained by funding. Our plan is to have the 12 river basins across the country installed with the automated system of flood forecasting.
“The essence of the installation is not only for flood monitoring but we also want to create awareness on climate change.
“It will make people to be aware of the trend and one of the areas we can prove it is in the amount of rainfall.
“It is very easy for us to monitor the hydrological parameters right from our office in Abuja with the stand alone automated FEWS.’’
He said that the upgrade would start with two river basins due to the high cost of the equipment.
According to him, the ministry has been working with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) on flood forecasting and early warning systems, to prevent flood disaster in the country. (NAN)