Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Ahmed Mustapha Habib on Monday disclosed that Nigeria will experience another flooding in 2023.
Habib disclosed this during a media chat after the flag-off of the 5-day International Disaster Management Executive Course for Nigeria Emergency Management Stakeholders held at the instance of NEMA in collaboration with Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre, United Kingdom.
He, therefore, unveiled the Agency’s plans to interface with all the 36 State Governors with a view to commencing early preparation towards averting another disaster resulting from flood across the country.
According to him, statistics showed that 662 persons have lost their lives, 3,174 others have suffered an injury and 2,430,445 individuals have been displaced by the floods, thousands of houses, hectares of farmlands and several critical national assets were destroyed by the raging floods in 2022.
He said: “When we finish with this and NIMET release their own climate prediction and NIHSA release their own flood outlook, and we have analysed that, then we’ve done the vulnerable risk mapping, we will interact with all of them, we’ll write to all of them.
“And we don’t do it just once, we identify areas and we show them these are the areas. It’s going to flood again this year. There is no doubt about it.
“The how it’s going to be severe is what we don’t know for now but it’s actually going to flood again,” the NEMA helmsman stressed.
He added that authorities of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) are also expected to release its flood prediction for the year 2023 as part of ongoing efforts geared toward ensuring early preparation by relevant stakeholders including the Federal and State governments.
“That’s why we are starting the year early. this is January and by tomorrow NIMET is releasing its seasonal climate prediction after that, I believe in the next week or two, NISAL will release its own flood outlook. and immediately after that, we will gather stakeholders to critically analyse the reports and then interpret that and then attach them to the vulnerable mapping to send to states.
“We are starting early and we have seen one or two mistakes last year. we have to work together and collaborate with all the States and we can’t work if NEMA is moving on one side and the states are moving on another side. We have to collectively work together.
“The first thing I did when I came on board in NEMA was to go for a course on disaster management at Bournemouth University and I believe that all the 36 States must take this course, and when they take this course, when they go back, they should replicate that to the local emergency management committee which they have set up.
“We have to prepare in time. We are bringing out everything early, we are planning early so that we will get ready early, and early action. That’s where we are now.”
While giving updates on the headway made so far in order to ensure the timely response of subnational governments to disaster management against flooding, the NEMA helmsman said: “That’s why we have invited all the States including all the stakeholders to partake in this training.
“So, I believe all the participants will be able to develop their own capacity and go back and replicate what they have been taught here in their States. I believe where we are now, we are going to start early and the States too will be able to replicate and cascade it down to the local governments.”
Speaking while declaring the high-level executive seminar for NEMA staff and other senior members of staff selected from State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs) and other critical disaster management stakeholders, Habib expressed delight over the Agency’s collaboration with Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre (BUDMC).
He observed that BUDMC is a “premier institution that provides world-class training and technical assistance on disaster management to help reduce risk, build resilience and ensure rapid and sustainable recovery when disasters strike.
“The NEMA collaboration with the Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre which dates back to 2009 has continued to grow from strength to strength. I am glad to announce to you that we have brought in experts with years of experience working both in the United Kingdom and overseas to support governments and multi-national organizations with disaster and crisis preparedness, response and recovery for this high-level seminar.
“There is no doubt that at the end of this program which is tailor-made to meet our peculiar needs in Nigeria, participants would be better prepared to face up to both new and emerging disaster challenges in their various areas of operation and the entire Nigerian federation.
“I say this because not long after | resumed duty at NEMA, I attended an executive briefing in the United Kingdom organized by BUDMC between 5th and 9th November 2021 anchored by the Director of the Centre and Professor Lee Miles, Professor Crisis and Disaster Management, Mr Richard Gordon.
“With the hindsight of recent disaster and humanitarian crises in several hotspots across Nigeria, I felt it has become expedient for this Executive Seminar to be conducted for SEMA Chief Executives and other members of staff of NEMA and those of its partner Agencies. Furthermore, this training has become timely as we begin our preparedness for another cycle of the annually recurring flood disasters in Nigeria. I am, therefore, extremely glad that the promise I made has today become a reality.
“As we are all aware, this event is taking place in the immediate aftermath of the devastating 2022 flood disaster which is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria. Records indicate that 662 persons have lost their lives, 3,174 others have suffered an injury and 2,430,445 individuals have been displaced by the floods.
“Thousands of houses, hectares of farmlands and several critical national assets were destroyed by the raging floods. NEMA in collaboration with State governments and other partners are currently working assiduously towards the long-term recovery of impacted communities across the nation.
In his address, In his remarks, the BUDMC Team Lead, Mr Richard Gordon who noted that “there’s no one way of doing disaster in any country,” stressed the need to give a voice to the voiceless.
While noting that Nigeria is endowed with a repository of knowledge and personnel, he harped on the need to develop homegrown solutions to disaster-related challenges, stressing that there is a need to “think globally but we have to act locally.”
In his remarks, Director of Human Resource Management, Mr Musa Zakari averred that the Seminar is coming at a time in our nation’s history when we have just passed through a severe flood disaster.
He explained that the University which was founded in 2001, provides world-class training and technical assistance in disaster management in order to help reduce risks, build resilience and ensure rapid and sustainable recovery when disasters strike.
According to him, the Team have years of experience working in the UK and Overseas assisting governments, ministries, NGOs and multi-national organisations with disaster and crisis preparedness, response and recovery. The Agency’s collaboration with the centre dates back to 2007 when the Nigeria ‘National Disaster Management Course’ sponsored by the British High Commission through BUDMC at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji held from 29th October — 9th November with twenty (20) critical stakeholders participating.
“As you may well know rapid changes in climate have resulted in the increase in the frequency of natural disasters across the nation, hence the objective of this seminar is to assist the Agency and its critical stakeholders in providing a unique international brand of disaster management education, training and simulation that can augment existing senior officers training provision within the country. We may need to re-examine some fundamentally new and profoundly more efficient approaches to disaster management,” he noted.
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