Kano – The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Thursday launched an initiative to take disaster early warning measures to the grassroots level for sustainable socio-economic growth.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the launch was performed by the agency, in collaboration with the Kano State Government.
In a speech at the ceremony on Thursday in Kano, the Director General of the agency, Mr Mustapha Habib-Ahmad, said that there was an urgent need to take proactive steps to avert flooding in the country.
According to Habib-Ahmad, based on predictions by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency, there is high probability of flooding across the country.
“I am very confident that the existence of State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in all the 44 Local Government Areas of Kano, will enable NEMA to work closely with them.
“This will further downscale flood early warning systems to the grassroots to safeguard our national food security and ensure sustainable socio-economic growth in Nigeria,” he said.
He further said that based on its mandate of disaster risk management, the agency decided to take the initiative to downscale early warning alerts to states and local communities at risk of flood.
The NEMA boss disclosed that the initiative would enable them to make appropriate plans to save lives, livelihoods, critical national assets and the natural ecasystem.
He said: “Flood in Nigeria has become predictable and yet annually recurring with substantial human and material costs.
“We have decided to support sub-national level actors, including states and local communities, to take responsibility of disaster preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery.”
He recalled that the country had experienced highly devastating flood, with more than four million people affected.
He said that at least two million persons were displaced and 665 deaths recorded during the period.
He further said that about 355,986 houses and 944,989 hectares of farmlands were destroyed during the disaster.
“We must strive to support our Local Emergency Management Committees with adequate capacity building, funding and equipment to take disaster risk management to the communities.
“This will enable the communities to build safe and resilient communities and by extension a safer and resilient Nigeria,” Habib-Ahmad said.
In a remark, Gov. Abba Kabir-Yusuf said the State Government was working hard to ensure that all illegal structures and drainages erected on waterways were removed.
“This will allow for free flow of water and prevent flood,” Kabir-Yusuf.
The governor, represented by the State Secretary to the State Government, Dr Abdullahi Bichi, said that the state “underestimated population” of over 25 million residents produce more than 4,000 tones of waste daily.
He commended NEMA for choosing Kano to launch the downscaling disaster at the grassroots level programme.
He said: “NiMet predicted that 23 Local Government Areas across Kano are at risk of experiencing flood.
“So, the State Government’s flood response engaged in evacuation of refuse across the state to ensure cleanliness.”
The programme was tagged, “Downscaling of disaster early warning measures to grassroots for effective life-saving early actions during the 2023 rainy season.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that representatives from the five Kano Emirate Councils, Local Government Chairmen and religious leaders attended the event. (NAN)