Flooding: States undermine disaster mitigation efforts — NEMA

THE National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) says efforts to sensitise the populace and mitigate the impact of predicted flooding have been stifled by the non-functional emergency management committees at the state and local government levels. 

Speaking at The ICIR Twitter Space on Thursday, July 20, the NEMA Assistant Chief Information Officer, Abdulkadir Ibrahim, said emergency management structures at the local and state levels are mostly weak or non-existent.  

A few months after the 2022 flood crisis that displaced over 1.3 million people and killed about 603 persons, the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMET) predicted another flood would likely occur this year.


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The agency warned Nigerians to prepare for earlier onset of heavy rains and flash floods in parts of the country.

Commenting on the implications of the prediction, Ibrahim said the weakness of emergency management committees at the sub-national level had made efforts by NEMA to enlighten people at the grassroots difficult and also impeded the Federal Government’s efforts to mitigate the impact of flooding.

Ibrahim said, “Natural disasters like floods cannot be stopped. It can be prevented and mitigated against, but it cannot be stopped.

“A lot has to do with the attitude of our people.Presently NEMA has already released climate disaster-related preparedness and migration strategy, which it is trying to downstream to the local government level. 

“The major challenge we have in this is that most of the state emergency management agencies are not as functional as they should be. According to the Act which set up the National Emergency Management Agency, we have to work with the state and local disaster management agencies, which of course is virtually not available in most of the local governments.”

Ibrahim said state governments fail to carry out their duties and provide funds for local disaster management agencies. 






     

     

    He noted that states would be unable to tackle disasters proactively if emergency committees at the local level are ignored. 

    “These people will be responsible for taking it to the community level because disasters occur at the community level. We are trying to make sure that both the local and state emergency management structures are strengthened. So any disaster can be dealt with. 

    “We are trying to make sure that all the emergency management structures are in place. The local government emergency management committee should be functional; the state agencies should also be functional. 

    “We have been embarking on enlightenment and sensitisation to state governments and local governments. We have been writing letters to them to ensure these structures are in place,” the NEMA spokesperson added.

    Beloved John is an investigative reporter with International Centre for Investigative Reporting.

    You can reach her via: [email protected]

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