By Mashe Umaru Gwamna with agency report
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMATODE) has received N3 billion to respond to the looming flood disasters following a red alert issued on September 7 by the National Hydological Services Agency (NHISA).
Mustapha Maihaja, Director General, NEMA, made this known on Saturday in Abuja during a meeting of NEMA with stakeholders to assess the reports from the fact finding committees after visiting the flood prone states.
According to Mr Maihaja, President Muhammadu Buhari approved N3 billion for the first stages of preparedness, response disaster mitigation.
Mr Maihaja said that the agency has immediately swung into action in case there are more worrying indications of a looming flood.
He said that reports from the fact finding committees are worrisome as some states including Niger, Kogi, Delta and Anambra have already started witnessing flooding.
“From the first response, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved up to N3 billion for the first response.
“We are here today to assess the already alarming situation, with declaration of red alert done on Sept. 7.
The declaration further culminated to the constitution of six committees that went round twelve states.
“NiMet has reported that from today to the next 72 hours, there would be continuous rain in the North, the Central and the Southern States of Nigeria.
“NHISA has reported also that today, the levels at the measuring stations, at the confluence of the Rivers Niger and Benue at Lokoja is 10.98 meters.
“This confirms that the volume is still increasing and with the threatening inflow at Lagdo Dam, with the level as at yesterday recorded at 21.4 meters when compared to the highest level.
“They will be forced to discharge at 21.6 meters that means we are left at 0.2 meters to get to that level and the continuous inflow makes it more worrisome,’’ Mr Maihaja said.
Mr Maihaja said that it was on that note that stakeholders under the coordination of NEMA have activated a National Contingency Plan, a policy document, which gives NEMA the power to establish operational structure.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered Maihaja to declare a “national disaster’’ in the event that anticipated flooding turns a reality in some parts of the country.
NAN reports that the president’s directive follows a warning from NHISA that Rivers Niger and Benue have almost reached the levels that resulted in the 2012 flooding.
Meanwhile, the DG NEMA has inaugurated five Emergency Operation Centres (EOC) to facilitate prompt search and rescue operations as well as humanitarian supports in the twelve (12) states worst affected by flooding.
The five Emergency Operation Centres with eight personnel each includes; EOC “A” is to cover Niger and Kwara states; EOC “B” is to cover Kogi and Edo states; EOC “C” is to cover Benue, Taraba and Adamawa states; EOC “D” is to cover Anamabra and Delta states while EOC “E” will cover Rivers and Bayelsa states.
A statement signed by Head Media and Public relations Sani Datti said the Emergency Response Centres will be responsible for planning, organizing, directing and supervising deployment of resources with the affected state governments and local authorities and communities. The primary objective is to localize the responses and expedite intervention to save lives and facilitate quick recovery.
At command centre in Abuja, the Director General of NEMA and other chief executives will be responsible for the formulating of policy and operational guidelines for the conduct of emergency operation in all the worst affected states.
The centres operations are to commence immediately while expecting them to utilize the facilities and personnel of the agency’s zonal and operation offices and other critical stakeholders.