Director General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Mustapha Habib Ahmed has urged the media to support in the dissemination of warning alerts and mobilise communities for disaster risk management in areas identified to be at risk of flooding this year.
He made the request in Abuja on Thursday at the public presentation of the Disaster Risk Management Implications of the 2021 Seasonal Climate Predictions and Annual Flood Outlook produced by NEMA in collaboration with other stakeholders.
The aim is to guide actions for management of flood and related climate induced disaster in the country.
Earlier, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) in February released the 2021 Seasonal Climate Predictions, while the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) released the Annual Flood Outlook in the month of May.
Following the release of the forecasts, the Director General Alhaji Mustapha Habib Ahmed said: “NEMA convened a technical experts meeting to analyze details of the two seasonal forecasts to produce a Disaster Risk Management Implications and appropriate early warning advisories to the public.”
He highlighted the content of the document as containing “recommendations aimed at guiding decision makers at national, state and local government as well as community levels to avert adverse consequences, mitigate disaster risk, safeguard food security and to climate proof national development of Nigeria,” adding that it will be very useful for disaster management at the national, state and local level.
However, to assist communities to be resilient, he the “media has a role to play by taking this message to the public and emergency responders across the three tiers of government and community levels to support disaster mitigation, adaptation, response and recovery.
He requested media managers to support by deploying “new and traditional communication pathways including the radio, television, town criers and the social media to take this messages to the communities.
Emergency responders are always local and we must give them the right information to enable effective disaster risk communication. We must match early warning with early action to save lives, safeguard livelihoods and our collective resilience.”
In his goodwill message at the occasion, Director General of NIHSA Engr. Clement Nze assured the continued collaboration of his organization with NEMA in the flood information management.
He appreciated NEMA for supporting the installation of weather stations in Gombe, Keffi and Ado Ekiti noting that the equipment would further enhance seasonal forecast services in the country.
The NiMet SCP, indicated a general annual rainfall amount of between normal to above-normal for most parts of Nigeria. However, below-normal rainfall is expected over a few places in the North-western parts of the country including Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Kano States. At the same time, some southern states of Nigeria including Lagos and Ogun are expected to experience later than normal onset dates.
The NIHSA 2021 flood outlook on the other hand indicated that 121 Local Government Areas in 27 States and the Federal Capital Territory will expect a high probability of flood risk, while 302 Local Government Areas will experience moderate risk of floods.
The remaining 351 Local Government Areas of Nigeria will fall within the low probable flood risk areas. Flash flood, urban flood and inundation occasioned by rise in sea level is also predicted by NIHSA.
At the same time, riparian communities along rivers Niger and Benue are expected to experience flooding as a result of overflow of water from their banks occasioned by upstream inflow coupled with heavy siltation of river beds.