FG Alerts Nigerians On Impending Flood *NEMA To Continue Updating On Emerging Situation

By Miriam Humbe

Minister of State for Environment, Dr. Iziaq Adekunle Salako has directed that Nigerians on floodplains particularly those by River Benue should move to higher grounds.

A statement signed on Saturday by Ibrahim Haruna, the Ministry’s Head, Press and Public Relations said
Salako made the call following the Flood Prediction issued for 3rd–7th October, 2023, by the Federal Ministry of Environment National Flood Early Warning Systems (FEWS) Hub.

The Minister said that reports from Adamawa and Taraba State had shown that the predicted flooding was taking place, therefore it was necessary for urgent actions by all Stakeholders in flood management nationwide.

The Minister advised that all other areas predicted for should be on high alert and should take proactive measures.

The Minister said: “In the light of the above, the Federal Ministry of Environment is calling on all the Stakeholders inclusive of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Federal Ministry of Humanitarian & Poverty Alleviation Affairs, Red Cross/Crescent, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Federal Ministry of Health, State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMA) among others to activate without delay their Flood Emergency Response Actions.”

Salako said these response actions should be geared towards; awareness creation, evacuation, provision of basic needs and temporary shelter as well as providing medical attention/facilities.

The Minister assured Nigerians that the Federal Ministry of Environment would continue to monitor developments at the
National Flood Early Warning Systems (FEWS) Central Hub and continue to update the citizens accordingly to avoid a recurrence of the past events.

Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Saturday, convened an Emergency Coordination Forum (ECF) meeting to discuss the current flood situation along the River Benue resulting from the on-going release of water from Lagdo Dam in the Republic of Cameroon.

NEMA’s Director General, Mustapha Habib Ahmed said that that the Agency had been alerted on sudden increased inundation of riparian communities and farmlands along the banks of River Niger in Adamawa, Taraba and Benue States in the past 48 hours.

The Director General said that situation reports from Adamawa State confirmed the upsurge of flood waters along the flood plains of River Benue and assured that NEMA would continue working with its partners and the Press to update Nigerians on the emerging situation.

Mustapha Habib Ahmed said the sudden situation was attributed to the rapid release of waters from Lagdo Dam in the Republic of Cameroon which had resulted in the displacement of several inhabitants of the affected communities.

The Director General said: “The situation is expected to be replicated in downstream states of Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Anambra, Edo, Delta and Bayelsa as the River Benue joins River Niger and flows to the Atlantic Ocean through the Niger Delta.”

NEMA therefore alerted authorities of State and Local Governments along rivers Niger and Benue basin areas to immediately activate their emergency response plans to avert potential damage and losses that could arise due to inundation of communities by flood waters.

Ahmed said: “Furthermore, croplands and valuable infrastructure are at risk of getting washed away by the flood waters.”

He said NEMA was expecting to receive updates from the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Nigerian Meteorological Agency, (NiMet), NEMA Operations Office in Yola Adamawa State and from State Emergency Agencies of the frontline states to keep on updating the public on the situation as it unfolds.

The Director General said that the NEMA situation room dashboard indicated that this year’s flood scenario had affected 159,157 persons, resulted in the loss of 28 persons and the displacement of 48, 168 individuals in 13 States across Nigeria.

The outcome of the deliberations at the Saturday’s Emergency Coordination Forum were expected to be shared to responsible Agencies and individuals to enable them take the right decisions in line with their statutory mandates.

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