The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has confirmed that about 500,000 Nigerians have been displaced due to the devastating floods so far recorded in the year as at last month.
The Director General of the Agency Alhaji Mohammed Sani-Sidi has disclosed this during an assessment tour of flooded communities in Bayelsa State.
Sani-Sidi said, “The country witnesses the debilitating effects of flooding with states like Sokoto, Jigawa, Kebbi, Nassarawa, Lagos, Ogun, Cross River and Akwa Ibom recording an incidence rate in which a total of about 500,000 Nigerians have been displaced and their properties and means of livelihood washed away”.
A statement from Yushau A. Shuaib, NEMA’s Head of Press and Public Relations, quoted the director general as saying that the recent weather patterns in the country and indeed the world had resulted in adverse ecological imbalances, adding, “We are now victims of this fate wherever you go; North; South; East or West”. He observed that although flooding in communities along the Niger trough and coastal communities is not new, what is however more worrisome is the severity of these cases as witnessed in Amassoma, Odi, Tombia, Sagbama and the extreme weather conditions experienced globally due to climate change.
The NEMA boss called for the need to make communities resilient by tasking members on the imperativeness of knowing more about ways to reduce community risk, investing wisely by funding plans on disaster risk reduction activities and building more safely by evolving participatory community development planning process and protect critical infrastructure.
He said, “There is also a need to imbibe the culture of disaster prevention. This can only be done if we all know that it is wrong to build on water channels, blocking drainages with refuse, felling trees indiscriminately without even planting new ones etc. We all must come together to right the wrongs we have all individually and collectively brought on our environment.” He reemphasized that disasters do not just occur in a vacuum. He said “when it strikes, it is we, the communities that suffer it. The environment remains our most valued possession and legacy which we must all strive to protect. Let us all join hands in protecting our common interest.”
Mohammed Sani-Sidi noted that while his agency would do all in its capacity to give succor to affected persons whose lives and livelihood may have been washed off by the flood, he advocated for a disaster-free environment through the establishment of a State Emergency Management Agencies by all state governors.