We Warned Ahead 2022 Flood, NEMA Says, Insists Prevention Is Key

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    By; KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna

    The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) while stressing that prevention is key to tackling disasters, insists Nigerians were warned ahead of the devastating flood that ravaged several parts of the country in 2022.

    North West Zonal Coordinator, Abbani Imam Garki expressed this, at the opening of a three-day stakeholders workshop in Kaduna on Tuesday.

    According to him, in view of that NEMA in collaboration with Christian Aid/Coopi and Federal Fire Service is organizing the stakeholders Consultative Meeting on 2022 Flood Review, Fire Disaster Preparedness and Review of Zaria Local Government Area Baseline Report Commissioned by Drass Project

    In his welcome address, said that as global practice, they are focusing on preventive, rather than reactive measures.

    “Every country in the world is having one form of disaster or the other. In view of this, we feel it is important to gather our stakeholders to discuss collaborative efforts on how to manage such disasters.

    “Over 300 lives lost to flood in 2012, this year the numbers doubled.

    “We need to bridge the gap for us to make disaster management effective,” he said.

    According to him, in view of the fact that the flood has come and go, there is the danger of another disaster, which is more rampant in the dry season.

    “We are approaching dey season, characterized with fire disasters. We are no longer waiting for disasters to happen before we react. Prevention is much cheaper than response. We are here, with key stakeholders. Our leading partners when it comes to fire is Federal Fire Service.

    “We feel it is important to sit down and identify all things that can guide us in effective disaster management in the country,” he said.

    Speaking further, he pointed out that following the submerging of hundreds of thousands of farmlands by flood this year, there is an urgent need to seek ways to mitigate the effects of possible food shortage

    “We know there is a problem of food security in the country, following submerging of farmlands. We need to do something to support our farmers for dry season farming. We need to support them with input and high yeilding seeds to cover the gap of what was lost.

    “We also need to prepare for outbreaks that come during the dry season in form of diseases like cholera and meningitis,” he urged.

    “On behalf of my DG, I the Zonal Coordinator, Mr. Albbani Imam Garki, therefore, declare this meeting open,” he declared.

    In the opening remarks, Christian Aid’s Senior Advisor South Sudan, Dr. Fagbite Bamidele said that there is need for early warning system to alert people of disaster before they occur.

    He said that attitudes and behaviours make the effects more devastating on the victims.

    “How prepared are we. How early is communication getting to people? When it gets to them, how do they react?

    “Rainy season is over, but now, fire disasters is the next disaster threat. We need to prepare to forestall disaster that may occur in the future,” he stressed.

    In a goodwill message, Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Executive Secretary, Muhammad Mukaddas said that the meeting is timely, following frequency of fire outbreaks in the dry season.

    “Therefore, there is need to harmonize all equipment and personnel in ensuring fire outbreaks are checked promptly,” Mukaddas who was represented by represented by Fatima Abubakar Idris said.

    Also in a goodwill message, PRO Federal Fire Service Kaduna, Sadik Isa, appreciated NEMA for providing a platform on how they can synergize to prevent fire outbreaks.

    “I believe we should invest more on preventing occurrences of not only fire, but flood and every other disaster that effects our country.

    “On behalf of my boss, DCF Mustapha Bello Kibiya, I wish us all fruitful deliberation,” he said.

    In his remarks, Kaduna State Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Timkat N. Vontan, said that flood can cause food insecurity.

    “What happened this year is more devastating than what has happened in the past. NEMA battled to distribute items to victims of flood in 2020. I am begining to imagine what will happen when they decide to take care of what happened this year. We will end up again, trying to compensate people affected by flood this year. I think we must look ahead on prevention. My ministry sends goodwill message to this meeting and I believe decisions taken at this meeting will ensure food security,” he said.

    Director Environment, Kaduna State Ministry of Environment, Yusuf Muazu Usman who represented Commissioner Environment in the state in a goodwill message, said the ministry provides clear outlines to reduce disaster.

    “Taking the entire statistics of the country, we thank God for Kaduna State’s lesser impact of flooding this year. We have gone ahead to review our institutional and legal frameworks in the state to make things easier.

    “We thank our critical stakeholders in Kaduna State, most especially NEMA.

    “The meeting is a wake up call, we are looking forward to the outcome so that we can add it to our working documents,” he assured.

    Vice Chairman Zaria LGA, Honourable Idris Yusuf in his goodwill message, said that they are reviewing indiscriminate building of filling stations in Zaria to prevent fire outbreaks and contamination of water sources.

    GOC 1 Div Nigerian Army, Major General T.A. Lagbaja in his brief remarks, said that disaster management is about saving lives and property.

    “The Nigerian military has been at the forefront of saving lives and property in the North East and all over the country.

    “We have response units all over military formations in the county. We activate it whenever NEMA calls on us. I wish us all successful deliberation and looking forward to having the communique from the meeting contribute in preventing disasters,” the GOC, represented by Lieutenant Col B.W. Gowok, said.

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