National Emergency Management Agency NEMA

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has lamented poorly funded emergency management agencies at the state level constitute a huge challenge to its effort to prevent emergency situations, including flooding.

The Head of Operations of NEMA at the Yola Operations Office, Abani Garki, gave the indication at a stakeholders consultative meeting in Yola where the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) reiterated a warning that 74 local government areas (LGAs) across the states of the federation would be highly probable to be affected by flooding this year, while 279 others fall under ‘probable flood risk LGAs.’

“Absence of strong and well-founded SEMAs in most states make things difficult for NEMA as situations that should be handled by SEMA are left for NEMA which gets weighed down by manpower and technical challenges,” Abani Garki said.

NEMA, which is a federal government agency, is supposed to be complemented by State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) ideally created and funded by each state government as well as Local Emergency Management Agency (LEMA) expected to be owned and managed by respective LGAs but the NEMA Yola office coordinator expressed the regret that while SEMAs were characteristically incapacitated by poor funding, LEMA does not exist in most LGAs.

The Stakeholders Consultative Meeting in Yola, which was meant for agencies and NGOs with related crisis-mitigating mandates to rob minds, featured the acting Zonal Coordinator of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Aliyu Muhammed, who reminded the meeting of the LGAs likely to be affected by flooding as the rainy season deepens.

A study of the ‘Annual Flood Outlook 2019’ prepared by NIHSA which Aliyu Muhammed provided, indicates that in Adamawa State, Guyuk and Lamurde are ‘highly probable flood risk LGAs’ while Demsa, Fufore, Gombi, Numan, Shelleng, Yola North, and Yola South fall in the category of ‘probable flood risk LGAs.’

The Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleiman Adamu, who wrote the Forward to the Annual Flood Outlook 2019, says that in the seven years of NIHSA predicting probability of flood events, “the level of accuracy of the forecast has improved significantly.”

He added that the flood level of 2018 was similar to that of 2012, but that improved monitoring and heightened awareness created by NIHSA reduced the devastation of flooding in 2018, and advised that the 2019 flood alert should be accorded the required attention.

Akwa Ibom, Delta, Imo, Jigawa, Kano, Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Rivers and Sokoto are the states with at least 10 LGAs to be affected by highly probable or probable flood risk this year, according to NIHSA’s Annual Flood Outlook.

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