If emergency situations are not well taken care of, they will become disaster. A comprehensive disaster management requires concerted efforts of all stakeholders and the financial resources available for disaster management are increasingly becoming limited.
This is why the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has begun a workshop on flood prevention, mitigation and preparedness in various states of the federation.
Speaking on the workshop, the South-East Zonal director of NEMA, Dr Bamidele Onimode, explained that the measure would enable residents cope effectively with the impact of floods but also highlighted what needs to be done to achieve better management of the expected floods.
Participants at the workshop, including the Secretary to the Anambra State Government, Oseloka Obaze, confirmed that the ideas shared would help raise a risk management consciousness among the people.
“The important thing is that we have an operational basis on which to start and we know what to do and which facilities to look for. Where we need guidance, we’ll get it from NEMA which is quite useful to us here.
The agency has also advised Nigerians to engage in tree planting, saying this will prevent disasters arising from windstorms presently ravaging many communities in Nigeria. According to the Agency, about 600 houses have been damaged by windstorm, while over 5000 persons in the South West geo-political zone of the country have been displaced so far in the first quarter of this year.
Also, major fire incidents have displaced about 250 secondary school children of Unity Secondary College, Ikire, Osun State.
NEMA Zonal Coordinator, Alhaji Iyiola Akande, made the call while assessing the extent of damages caused in various affected communities of Ijebu-Igbo, Ijebu North Local Government Area of Ogun State where over 200 houses were destroyed by windstorm and about 3,314 persons were affected as well as in Idi Araba and Onipanu area of Surulere Local Government Area of Oyo State where about 100 houses were destroyed and over 800 persons rendered homeless.
Alhaji Akande asserted that in the past, elders were more conscious of the serenity which tree planting brings to their compounds or the environment at large, even when there was little effect of climate change. He said the reverse is now the case in most geo-political zones of the country.
He also warned against taking refuge under makeshift structures as these could cave-in and cause serious injury if such structures collapse due to heavy windstorm.
Akande also said over 515 houses in Ekiti State were destroyed by windstorm with hail storm causing severe destruction in Omu-Ekiti which injured one person and about 1,099 persons rendered homeless in Ado Ekiti and Omu Ekiti . Osogbo and Ilesa West communities had bitter taste of the windstorm with several people and scores of houses affected.
Earlier, NEMA carried out on-the-spot inpection of two blocks of the hostel at the Unity Secondary
School, Ikire, Osun State destroyed by windstorm. Over 250 children were affected with 80 of them due to start their final examinations.
NEMA suggested that more security facilities be provided while recommending a perimeter fence be installed against intruders. The Zonal Coordinator also called on the state government to introduce the training of school children on basic disaster risk reduction.