June 24, 2021

NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA

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Flood Forecasting: NEMA donates Automatic Weather Observatories to NIHSA

By Ruth Oketunde

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has donated three Weather Observation Stations to the Nigerian Hydrological Services (NIHSA) to support operations of the agency.

Retired Air Vice Marshal, Muhammadu Muhammed, Director-General, NEMA disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja, at the unveiling of the 2021 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) by NIHSA.

Muhammed, in a statement by Mr Manzo Ezekiel, Head of Media and Public Relations of the agency, said that the weather stations were at various stages of installations.

According to him, the stations are located in Nasarawa State University, Keffi; Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti and Federal University, Kashere.

He added that the donation showed that the agency valued collaboration with its partners and was ready to strengthen the multi-agency approach to disaster risk reduction.

“COVID-19 pandemic reduced states and communities’ abilities to cope with climate-induced disasters, thus imposing more burdens on Federal Government Agencies to mitigate and respond to disasters.

“However, in spite of the gloomy nature of the pandemic, presenting a case of disaster within a disaster, our advocacy and engagement with stakeholders in 2020 led to a reduction in the negative impacts of the flood on the people,” he said.

According to him, one important lesson learned during the 2020 flood after-action review meeting, is the need for proper utilization of our dams in the country.

He added that when dams meant for irrigation purposes were used for dry season agriculture, they acquired more capacities to hold more water in the rainy season.

He added that a timely controlled release of water from dams would reduce the panic release of water during the rainy season that could lead to further flooding.

The director-general said that the agency would ensure that all states and communities vulnerable to floods receive timely warnings through community engagement, television programmes and information among other public enlightenment activities.

In his remarks, Mr Suleiman Adamu, Minister of Water Resources, said the AFO document was a clarion call to all stakeholders to rise and set up appropriate mechanisms to guard against floods in the country.

He added that clearing of waterways, flood paths as well as maintaining proper water disposal management practices must be encouraged to curtail the ravages of flood and spread of the COVID-19. (NAN)

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