…keys to disaster mitigation remain Preparedness, Mitigation, Response, Recovery
Mustapha Habib Ahmed, Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has commiserated with with the government and people of Kwara State over the recent boat mishap on the River Niger which claimed over 100 lives along Patigi Local Government Area of the State.
The DG’s led a delegation from the Agency made up of the Director Relief and Rehabilitation Alh. Alhassan Nuhu, Special Assistant to the DG Mr. Idris Abubakar Mohammed, Head of NEMA Minna Operations Office Hajiya Zainab Suleiman and some support staff who were received by the Deputy Governor of the State Mr. Kayode Alabi on behalf of Governor Abdulrazaq, on Thursday 22, June 2023.
Speaking during the visit, Mustapha Habib Ahmed commiserated with the government and people of Kwara state over the boat mishap which he described as “particularly sad because of the extent of lives lost and damage caused to livelihoods of many persons.”
Ahmed thanked the Kwara State Government under the able leadership of His Excellency Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for providing first line support to the affected persons before calling “on relevant authorities responsible for safety on our waterways to put in measures that will forestall a re-occurrence”.
In concluding, he announced that the agency had made provisions for relief materials to be distributed to the affected based on damage assessment and need analysis conducted by NEMA. The relief items are meant to complement the efforts of the Kwara State Government in providing immediate succor to the affected persons.
The items included 1,000 bags of rice (10kg), 1,000 bags of maize (10kg), 1,000 bags of beans (10kg), 50 kegs of vegetable oil, 200 pieces of plastic buckets, 100 cartons of detergent, 220 blankets, 200 nylon mats and 250 mattresses amongst others.
The previous day, Mustapha Habib Ahmed had visited Akwa Ibom state where he flagged off the “the downscaling of disaster early warning measures to grassroots for effective live-saving early actions during the 2023 rainy season.”
Referencing the 2023 Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) and Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) released earlier in the year by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) respectively, the DG noted that the “two vital documents contain meteorological forecasts indicating early onset of rainfall and high probability of flooding across the country during the year.”
Speaking to the imperative of awareness creation and early warning signal measures as critical for flood prevention, Ahmed noted that Nigeria suffered the most devastating incident of flooding in 2022 during which 665 Nigerians were killed and over 2 million persons displaced.
He said that in order to avoid a re-occurrence, the agency has as “part of our disaster risk communication… written letters to all State Governors and responsible partners drawing their attention on imminent floods and associated secondary hazards during the rainy season to avoid a repeat of what we experienced last year.”
Describing disasters as local, Ahmed noted that the cooperation of state and local governments is critical because they are providers of first line support which has informed the downscaling measures and awareness creation which will help states and local government take proactive and preventive measures in line with NEMA’s paradigm shift towards disaster risk reduction.