By Segun Giwa
Akure, – The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has organised a stakeholders’ meeting to put on alert relevant emergency management agencies and create awareness ahead of impending rainfall warnings till December.
The Head, Ekiti Operations office of NEMA, Mr Olusegun Afolayan, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Akure on Friday.
Afolayan spoke on the sidelines of a one-day stakeholders’ meeting on flood preparedness, response and mitigation.
NAN reports that Ekiti Operations Office covers Ondo, Osun and Ekiti.
Afolayan said the programme became imperative after Nigerian Meteorological Agency had warned that rain would not stop soon, especially in the Southern part of the country.
He said there were several challenges in curbing flooding, especially when people would not stop building and dumping refuse on waterways, not heeding to warnings and advice to leave flood-ravaged areas.
He noted that houses built on waterways should be demolished to reduce the incidence of flooding.
“We came to sensitise, educate and create awareness in order to mitigate future occurrence of flood disasters.
“Most people are not duly informed about what to do as to prevent flood that leads to disaster. People have to know what to do to prevent disaster.
“We have done it in Osun and Ekiti, it is the turn of Ondo.
“One of the major challenges is when you sensitise communities to avoid dumping of refuse, stop building on the water ways, leave flood-prone areas when the rain is falling, they are always adamant, they refuse to listen.
“I have gone round all the states under my purview and I can still tell you, many people are still where they were up till now. We gave them relief materials, they are still there,’’ Afolayan said.
He suggested that government should do what is being done in Lagos and Ogun by compensating the victims and relocate them to another area.
Afolayan further said that inadequate enforcement of building codes was also affecting the fight against flooding.
“There is lack of enforcement of building code. All these people, when you talk to them, they will tell you they have approvals; how they got it, nobody knows.
“If the government can enforce a building code, part of the problems will be solved, ‘’ he said.
Mr Lanre Abiodun, Secretary, Ondo State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), said a lot was learnt from the programme.
Abiodun said the state would soon organise its version of the sensitisation programme.
“The state government has been doing a lot in terms of curbing flood. Recently, we launched amphibious excavators to dredge rivers in the state.
“We have also been providing relief packages for victims,’’ he said.