To enhance operations of the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has provided three automatic Weather Observation Stations in support to NIHSA.
Speaking in Abuja, at the unveiling of the 2021 annual flood outlook by the NHSA, NEMA’s Director General, AVM Muhammadu Muhammed (rtd), said the weather stations are at various stages of installations are located in Nasarawa State University, Keffi; Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti; and Federal University, Kashere, Gombe State.
According to AVM Muhammed, NEMA values “collaboration with our partners and are ready to strengthen the multi-agency approach to disaster risk reduction.”
He said the weather stations will be useful for hydrological predictions and also to train students in the field of Geography, Engineering, Agriculture, meteorology, climate change and other sciences.
Reviewing the flood of last year, he said “COVID-19 Pandemic reduced States and communities’ abilities to cope with climate induced disasters, thus imposing more burden on Federal Government Agencies to mitigate and respond to disasters.
“However, despite the gloomy nature of the pandemic, presenting a case of disaster within a disaster, our advocacy and engagement with stakeholders in 2020 led to reduction in the negative impacts of flood on the people.
“A total of 2,353,647 people were affected by 2020 flood disaster, but 69 lives were lost compared with the 158 lives but only 277,555 affected in 2019.”
Further according to him, “One of the lessons learnt during the 2020 flood after action review meeting is the need for proper utilization of our dams in the country. When dams meant for irrigation purposes are used for dry season agriculture, they acquire more capacities to hold more water in the rainy season. In addition, a timely controlled release of water from dams will reduce panic release of water during rainy season that can lead to further flooding.”
As part of strategy for this year’s flood management, the NEMA DG said the Agency will ensure that all states and communities that are vulnerable to flood received timely warnings through community engagement, television programmes and information, education and communication materials amongst other public enlightenment activities that would be carried out.
The Minister of Water Resources Engr Suleiman Adamu who unveiled the AFO said the document was a clarion call to all stakeholders to rise and set up appropriate mechanism such as clearing the waterways and flood paths as well as maintaining proper water disposal management practices to curtail the ravages of the impending flood and threats of COVID-19.