FG warns states on flooding and disasters

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The Federal Government has alerted state governments on the need to prepare adequately in mitigating the adverse effects of heavy rainfall and flooding.

Specifically, each state is advised to raise a multi-sectoral platform for the co-ordination of humanitarian emergencies, prompt responses and mitigation.

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The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq said state governments are also expected to “preposition relief materials for prompt response after incidents”. She spoke while giving an update on the Phase 2 lockdown at the press briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 in Abuja.

Hajia Umar Farouq said the ministry has deployed early warning signals to help in disaster management preparedness and mitigation, as part of its strategy for discharging its mandate.

“They also help us in building resilience for the future especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the health, economic and humanitarian toll it has taken on countries, even developed countries, across the globe,” said the minister.

Her words: “As the rainy season intensifies, we believe that incidents of flooding would not just be disastrous and catastrophic, they would impoverish our vulnerable population who have been adversely affected by the pandemic.”

Hajiya Umar Farouq said the recent flooding at Suleja and Gwagwalada which killed many and washed away buildings has served a warning on impending challenges even as the ministry and its agencies are prepared to tackle the emergencies.

“We have been drawing proactive attention of flood-prone states to the annual Seasonal Rainfall Prediction released by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency in January and the Annual Flood outlook released by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, NIHSA, in May,” she disclosed.

The minister promised that all resources and expertise will be mobilised to support farmers in their activities as contained in the Presidential Emergency Agricultural Intervention Programme, especially to prevent adverse effects of COVID-19 on farming and food production.

“To ensure preparedness based on early warning signals from NiMET and NIHSA, we are calling on state governments in flood-prone areas to take pre-emptive actions” she advised.

She also listed the necessary steps as preparedness of the State Emergency Management Agency, frontline local government authorities and other response agencies; public enlightenment campaigns, targeting vulnerable communities to undertake mitigation actions and prepare for evacuation to safer ground; identifying high grounds for possible Internally Displaced Persons camps, to shelter evacuated communities; desilting river channels and canals and removing refuse, weeds, water hyacinths and floats from water channels, drainages and all avenues to allow free flow of flood water.

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