By Vivian Emoni
Abuja – The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), says Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Agro-Hydro Metrological Region (AGRHYMET), and Swedish Institute, are set to implement a project to mitigate flooding across the sub region.
Mr Clement Nze, the Director General, NIHSA, said this in Abuja at the 3rd Flood Forecast and Alert in West Africa (FANFAR) Workshop.
Nze explained that the Operational FANFAR was a joint project by ECOWAS countries to ensure mitigation of flooding in the region through effective forecast alert.
He said it was part of the horizon 2020 project, adding that the approach would reduce flooding in the region.
The NIHSA boss said that the essence of the workshop was to understand the importance of flooding and the need to develop a very robust approach to mitigating the menace.
He said: “We are talking about mitigation; it does not mean that it will stop flooding completely.
“The workshop will help to know what is happening in Nigeria, and then develop robust data which we can use in forecasting to mitigate flooding in the country.
“This workshop comes at the right time when flooding is yet to set in. The essence of bringing other member countries together is to help everyone of us to learn more about how to reduce flooding in the region.
“It is a regional project, we will be looking at what has happened in Nigeria, what kind of data do we have in Nigeria and how can we work with the data.
“We will also be looking at what happened in other countries, and all this will add more input to Nigerians with regards to preparing for 2020 flooding.’’
He noted that the workshop would also provide a lot of data for effective forecast.
“So, the essence of the workshop is to join other countries, to marry our experiences and using one system to address flooding challenges.
“We all know that what is happening in Nigeria is not different from what is happening in Ghana. So each country will come up with what they have and then we put heads together to see how we can tackle flooding.
“So, after the workshop we can be able to know our achievements from the workshop,’’ he said.
Mr Umar Magashi, Coordinator, FANFAR, said that the workshop was to streamline flooding issues in the West African sub region.
Magashi said the objective of the workshop was also to cooperate with the European Union, Swedish Institute and AGRHYMET in Niger and NIHSA, to tackle floods.
`This is the third one, this is the final workshop, the whole issues about FANFAR is about to put a system of forecasting for the West African region.
“We are all aware that climate change is real, it is on this bases that we all join together to help the West African region to see that this is done effectively.
“This workshop will help to address climate change challenges because flooding is one of the issues that has became more frequent and we are expecting flooding to automatically reduce in 2020.
“The workshop will bring a lot of benefits to the region,’’ he said.
The coordinator said that since 2013, the agency had continued to publish Annual Flood Outlook (AFO), following the devastating effects of the 2012 floods.
He said that AFO was a means of producing early flood warning for stakeholders to use as yardstick for taking action to mitigate flood related disasters.
He advised Nigerians to adhere to early warning alerts by NIHSA to avoid loss of lives and property in 2020.