The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has said that about 300 lives have been lost to flooding this year and more than 100,000 others displaced since the start of the raining season in February.
NEMA also said over 500 persons were seriously injured due to the disaster while more than 500,000 people were affected.
The new Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Mustapha Habib Ahmed, disclosed this during the agency’s emergency technical meeting on flood held at NEMA headquarters in Abuja on Monday.
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Ahmed said a lot of of communities are passing through a challenging moment in respect of the flood disaster in the country.
He said, “So far, it is on record that 29 states including the FCT have experienced heavy flooding with more than 500,000 persons already affected. Our record indicates that more than 300 lives have been lost, over 500 persons are seriously injured with more than 100,000 others displaced and living either in temporary shelters including schools, other public buildings amongst benevolent host families.”
He said the emergency technical meeting was convened to urgently review the emergency situation and to plan for further action by all emergency responders, saying, “This meeting will enable us save lives, safeguard livelihoods and restore normalcy in all the impacted states.”
He stated, “Based on our communication with the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), the Lagdo dam operators in the Republic of Cameroon have commenced the release of excess water from the reservoir by 13th September, 2022.
“We are aware that the released water cascades down to Nigeria through the River Benue and its tributaries thereby inundating communities that have already been impacted by heavy precipitation. The released water complicates the situation further downstream as Nigeria’s inland reservoirs including Kainji, Jebba, and Shiroro are also expected to overflow between now and October ending according to NIHSA.
“According to NIHSA, Kainji and Jebba dams have already started spilling exess water from their reservoirs. This will have serious consequences on frontline States and communities along the courses of rivers Niger and Benue. This states include, Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Niger, Nasarawa, Kebbi and Kogi states. Niger Delta states including Edo, Delta, Anambra, Cross River, Rivers and Bayelsa are expected to record heavy floods due predicted above normal rains coupled with the combined waters of rivers Niger and Benue as they empty into the region.”
Ahmed advised all the relevant government agencies to, among other measures, move away communities at risk, identify safe higher grounds for evacuation of persons and provide adequate food and non-food items for those affected.
He added, “The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is monitoring the situation and will consider the activation of Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs) to coordinate the flood disaster response in all the states at risk. In this regard, I seek the full support of state governments especially through their State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs) and other critical state level actors. Meanwhile, NEMA will continue to work with the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) to downscale Impact Based Weather Forecast to the public as the extreme weather event unfolds.
“All NEMA staff on leave have been recalled back to office in view of the present emergency situation. Search and Rescue equipment, including those recently inducted have been deployed to the most affected states. These include motorised and inflatable boats for Search and Rescue as well as mobile water purification plants to provide potable water where sources of drinking water have been compromised.
“All NEMA Zonal, Territorial and Operation Offices have been activated to coordinate resources in their areas of responsibilities to respond to the situation. Headquarters staff have also been deployed to support the ZTO, Territorial and Operational Offices of NEMA.”