By Ijeoma Olorunfemi
The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) has presented a three-year Multi-Scale Flooding Monitoring and Assessment Services for West Africa to reduce risks.
The agency, in collaboration with partners presented the services in Abuja on Wednesday to also manage flood disasters.
The services was produced under the programme tagged; the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) and Africa.
It was led by one of the agency’s activity centre, Centre for Space Science and Technology Education (CSSTE), Ile-Ife.
It was a joint initiative of the African Union and the European Union Commission which involved seven research institutions in Ghana, Benin Republic, Cote D’Ivore, Burkina Faso and Nigeria.
The programme was targeted at providing Earth Observation (EO) based services on near real time basis to disaster management organisations and boosting their human capacity to adapt to the services.
Some of the services included; Up-Datable Regional Flood Event Database, Flood Reporter, Flood Geospatial Database, Flood forecast geoportal, Flood damage assessment and capacity building programmes.
Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, said that the products were good initiatives that should be domesticated for sustainability.
Onu, represented by Dr Peter Ekweozoh, Director, Environmental Sciences and Technology, said that the initiative showcased the science, technology and research initiatives toward the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The presentation of these products and services is filling a critical gap in flood disaster mitigation, risk reduction and management.
“Over the years, there has been a gap between the need to adequately prevent, manage and mitigate flood disasters to save lives and properties,” he said.
The minister noted that the initiative which was achieved using EO data and satellite technology showed further the need to deploy space technology to attain SDGs.
“Satellites play a very important role in our daily lives and national development and in recognition of this role, the Federal Government has committed in human capacity for satellite development.
Dr Halilu Shaba, Director-General of NASRDA encouraged stakeholders and relevant agencies to deploy the services to save lives and properties.
“Sustainable development can only be achieved if lives and properties are safe,” Shaba said.
Also, the GMES and Africa Coordinator, Dr Tidiane Quattara, said that no country was left out in flooding disasters which made the products very important for SDGs achievement.
Quattara said, “the use of satellite data to address flooding will enable achievement of the SDGs.’’
In his contribution, Sen. Yusuf Yusuf, Chairman, Senate Committee on Special Duties said there was a wide range of gap between research institutions and the people.
Represented by the Vice Chairman, Sen. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, Yusuf said, “scientific research should be disseminated to the people concerned.
“There is need for advocacy on flooding research findings by engaging the Local Government Areas for information dissemination so they can apply the research findings.’’
Also, Dr Ganiyu Agbaje, Director of CSSTE, said that some of the services were developed to serve people in local areas like the farmers.
Agbaje said that the flood reporter’s usage was in levels, a tablet programned to take shots of flood events to users to enable a now cast report of flood disaster.
“The flood reporter takes a picture and upload immediately to the flood even database which will help in the forecasting.
“Another level is using SMS which is meant for the district heads, the locals to get information alerts on when to go to farm.
“For the radio jingles, agencies are expected need to give exact location of possible flooding in the local language of the people because they are the reason we serve.
“In the second phase of the programme, we are looking at the locals helping us to use their phones to gather data on flooding so we can have more information to refine our prediction,’’ he said.
Some of the flooding risk reduction services were officially handed to NIMET, National Emergency Management Agency, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency and other agencies that generate fold related data to prevent future occurrences. (NAN)