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Emergency Preparedness: Three States On Red Alert To Forestall Flood

Flood
Posted: Jul 17, 2016 at 4:58 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Chioma Umeha

Lagos-“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In line with this ancient adage, three states as well as others in the South West zone have swung into emergency preparation and response to forestall looming flood disaster.
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) had predicted sometime this year that high level of flood will occur in Lagos, Oyo and Ogun State this year.
Representatives of the States announced this during three-day training on Emergency Preparedness and Response, held at Ibadan, by Oyo State Planning Commission in collaboration with UNICEF, Lagos Office.
Representing Lagos State, Head of Operations and Logistics, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Mr. Femi Giwa, said Lagos has stepped up high level of preparedness at the two relief camps; Agbowa within the Lagos East senatorial district and Igando, Lagos Senatorial west.
“Our relief camps at Igando are capable of taking about 1,500 internally displaced persons. We have stepped up preparedness in terms of the beddings, supplies and other necessities at the two camps. Also, we have begun preparation for the construction of the third relief camp at Lekki.
Apart from these, sometimes around January, we had kicked off our sensitization campaign, if you would observe vividly, that the Vice President of the Federation visited Lagos and commissioned our state of the art equipment at our intervention unit in Kappa Oshodi. Most of this equipment and vehicles are meant for intervention,” he said.
The Oyo State representative and the State Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dolapo Dosunmu, said his State has also begun sensitization in view of the flood.
“About two months ago, we got a circular from the office of the security adviser to President, alerting us that the river basin is about to overflow and Oyo State has been identified as one of the States likely to experience the flood.
“Therefore, we have begun sensitizing people to be conscious of the impending flood, for people living around the river to move away from there. Since then, we have been talking to people on attitudinal changes, to desist from dumping their waste on the waterways and gutters, there is a jingle currently ongoing by SEMA, also telling people about these dangers,” she said.
Similarly,  the State Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA) Ogun State, Sola Babalola, said  his State is fully prepared to cope with the impending flood.
“Our major preparedness is sensitization; we have started sensitization in all the 20 local government areas, with different enlightenment materials such as jingles, hand bills, house to house campaign. We campaign against indiscriminate dumping of refuge particularly in the areas that are prone to flood in Ogun State such as yewa, Obafemi-Owode”, he explained.
On his own, the Director  General (DG) National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Muhammed Sani-Sidi, said that the challenges of climate change needs adequate planning, preparedness and response to tackle the aftermath of extreme conditions such as heat waves, extreme temperatures and raising water levels.
Sani-Sidi, who was represented by Iyiola Isiaka Akande, Deputy Director, Disaster Risk Reduction Department (NEMA) Abuja, noted that such disasters have grievous consequences on the people and the environment hence the need for training and retraining of stakeholders and key members of the public.
While speaking on the challenges of stakeholders during emergency, UNICEF’s officer on emergency, Mr. Olusoji Adeniyi, explained that “poor coordination, political obstacles, relief agency syndrome, fireman approach among others, have hindered smooth response during emergencies.”
Mr. Adeniyi further explained that pre-emergency preparedness is very important as it helps to provide ample time to strategize on how best to respond during emergency.
Also, the Advocacy, Media and External Communication Officer UNICEF, Mrs. Blessing Ejiofor, stressed the importance of information during emergencies saying that the media need to set agenda to ensure that the most vulnerable people such as women and children are adequately protected.
The rest who attended the training are representatives from Delta, Edo, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti State, representatives of National Orientation Agency (NOA), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), UNICEF, Ministries of Education, Ministry of Health, Red Cross, and other development partners.