By Emmanuel Acha
Nsukka – Enugu State Government says it is committed to building stronger and more resilient communities with a view to reducing disaster risks.
Mrs Nkechi Eneh, the Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), disclosed this on Thursday in Nsukka during a flood sensitisation and awareness campaign.
Eneh said that the move had become necessary following series of natural disasters including flooding, windstorm, rainstorm, landslides, mudslides and fire outbreaks occasionally witnessed in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that parts of the state have been ravaged by such natural disasters which destroyed property worth millions of naira with several households rendered homeless.
The most recent disaster occurred on July 4 when two persons got drowned by flood following a downpour in Nsukka.
Eneh said that the awareness campaign was organised in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to enlighten the people on how to respond when flooding occurs.
“Enugu State has witnessed series of natural disasters which, in most cases, threatened the safety of lives and property of the people.
“Safety of citizens is a priority to the state government and the governor has given SEMA all the support with a view to embracing global best practices in disaster management.”
The executive secretary said that Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NHISA) had confirmed Nsukka Local Government Area as flood-prone.
She said that NHISA, in its 2018 Annual Flood Outlook, mentioned Nsukka as one of the highly probable risk areas in the state.
“This prediction informed this flood awareness campaign aimed at enlightening the communities mostly affected on the dangers and also provide them with some risk reduction hints.”
Eneh urged participants to take the workshop seriously with a view to contributing to measures that could be deployed to avert future occurrences and enhance the resilience of rural communities.
In a remark, the South-East Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, Mr Walson Brandon, said that NHISA had forecast that no fewer than 30 states of the federation would experience flooding of varied magnitudes.
Brandon also said that no fewer than 313 local government areas would be affected, citing the 2018 prediction.
He said it was sad that in spite of such early warning, much had not been done to prepare residents of such flood-prone states on how to tackle the disaster that lay ahead.
Brandon commended Enugu State Government for taking up such proactive initiative, adding that Nsukka council seemed to be the only one with preparedness plan against flooding.
Earlier in an address of welcome, the Deputy Chairman local government, Mr Cosmos Agbo, said that issues of flood was perennial in the area.
Agbo said that most residents of the area had been victims, adding:“there are always casualties whenever it occurs.
“The one that happened on July 4 claimed two lives within the University of Nigeria axis,” Agbo said.
NAN further reports that a lecture on ‘Flood Early Warning and Early Action’ was delivered at the event.