The Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Mohammadu Muhammed, has called for the proper utilisation of the nation’s dams to curtail flooding in the country.
Muhammed said this on the sidelines of the public presentation of the 2021 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO), in Abuja, on Thursday, May 6, 2021.
According to him, one of the lessons learnt from the 2020 flood occurrence was the need for prevention and effective use of dams during dry season farming.
“One of the lessons learnt during the 2020 flood After Action Review meeting is the need for proper utilisation of our dams in the country.
“When dams meant for irrigation purposes are used for dry season agriculture, they acquire more capacities to hold more water in the rainy season.
“In addition, a timely controlled release of water from dams will reduce panic release of water during rainy season that can lead to further flooding”.
The DG said the agency was working to ensure that states and communities that were vulnerable to flood received early warnings, through community engagement, television programmes, education and communication materials.
He said within the last one year, the COVID-19 pandemic had reduced the abilities of states and communities to cope with climate-induced disasters, thus imposing more burden on the Federal Government agencies to mitigate and respond to the disasters.
Muhammed noted that despite the gloomy outlook of the pandemic, advocacy and engagement with stakeholders in 2020 led to the reduction in the negative impact of floods on the people.
“A total of 2,353,647 people were affected by flood disasters with 69 lives lost, compared to the 158 loss of lives in 2019”.
He described the AFO as a veritable tool for NEMA in flood preparedness, mitigation and response since 2013, saying that the agency had also established three automatic weather observation stations in Nasarawa, Gombe and Ado Ekiti, to enhance flood forecasting and management in Nigeria.
“These three automatic weather observation stations in Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Ekiti State University and Federal University Gombe, will be used to train Geography, Engineering, Agriculture, meteorology students on hydrological predictions”, he added.
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, in its effort to address the challenge of flooding across the country, had been intervening since 2013 by publishing the AFO.
The 2021 prediction says no fewer than 121 Local Governments in 28 states were likely to experience severe flooding.
The states are Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, FCT, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba and Zamfara.
By Tosin Kolade