By Ikechukwu Iweajunwa
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has disclosed that no fewer than 80 communities in Imo and Abia states were badly affected by flood related cases in 2019.
Head of Imo/Abia Operations office of the agency, Mr Evans Ugoh disclosed this on Wednesday in Owerri at a workshop on disaster management it organised for disaster agencies.
Ugo noted that millions of naira worth of goods was damaged in the year under review adding that some of the flood incidences would have been averted if affected communities had embraced NEMA’s early warnings on disaster management.
Speaking on the theme “Role of Stakeholders in Flood Risk Management” the NEMA official tasked disaster agencies to brace up to the challenges of disaster management to ensure safety of Nigerians.
He said the essence of the meeting was to review the activities of disaster agencies in 2019 and to proffer solutions to avert incidences of flooding in 2021.
He said: “We the disaster agencies have a lot of role to play in disaster management; we organize workshops, seminars and sensitization programmes to flood prone communities regularly to sensitize them on the need to harp on the early warning measures.
“Our biggest challenge is that prone communities often disregard early warning measures and by the time they know it, their communities are flooded,” he said.
Ugoh informed the disaster stakeholders that Flood Risk Management encompassed structural and non structural measure, adding that to address hazards properly, some community level structural measures were needed.
He said the non structural measure included strict enforcement of structural and construction of building codes, land acquisition policy and environmental services.
On the role of disaster stakeholders, Ugoh said the role of the agencies should be visible during the three phases of disaster management.
He listed capacity building, simulation exercise, early warning system and collaboration as the cardinal point to the role of stakeholders in disaster management.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that those in attendance in the meeting are representative of Nigerian Police force, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and Fire Service. (NAN)