FEMA reiterates commitment to mitigate threats of flood

Nathaniel Shaibu with Agency Report

The Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Agency has reiterated commitment to mitigate threats posed by floods, expected to increase from the global impact of climate change.

The Director-General of FEMA, Dr Abbas Idriss, said this during a joint tour of flood prone areas of Apo-Dutse, Gudu Districts of the FCT, on Wednesday.

Idriss noted that the tour was to aid its level of preparedness and awareness, ahead of the 2023 rainy season, adding that the importance of the exercise could not be over-emphasised.

He said floods remained the greatest threat to lives and property, including food security where farm lands were washed away.

The FEMA DG alerted that the Nigerian Meteorological Agency Seasonal Climate Prediction and Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency Annual Flood Outlook for 2023, had multi sectoral implications on the FCT – including disaster management.

“My conviction on our ability to keep lives and property safe from the threat of flood stems from the commitment and support given by the FCT Minster, Muhammad Bello,” Idriss stressed.

He maintained: “This has seen many structures standing on water ways and flood plains being demolished, to restore the FCT Master Plan, which has suffered gross violations over the years.

“I believe the architects of the Abuja Master Plan envisaged the global threats that weather and climatic elements pose to cities, and took that into consideration in their design, to make the FCT qualify as a safe city over time. Therefore, if we succeed in restoring the Master Plan, we would have succeeded in reducing the flood threats facing us by 50 per cent, and continue to manage other factors that are not subject to human control as best as possible to stay safe,” he pointed out.

The FEMA DG assured that the agency would continue to expand and deepen flood sensitisation campaigns across the FCT, through community outreaches and various media platforms, using different languages, to drive home its early warning and early action messages.

He thus encouraged communities and residents to become more aware of what constitutes flood risk and how to reduce vulnerability, disclosing that FEMA Emergency Marshalls, who are to be drawn from the six area councils, would further strengthen the disaster management architecture of the FCT.

The DG appealed to volunteers, to keep note installations, such as flood warning sign boards mounted by FEMA in flood prone locations, so that road users can take caution when they approach such spots.

Earlier, the Director, Forecasting Response Mitigation of FEMA, Mrs Florence Wenegieme, recalled that in 2022, FCT was the only location in the country, that didn’t record any loss of life during flooding.

While stating the importance of removing obstructions from waterways, Wenegieme said the Agency will go round locations within the city centre, to carry out comprehensive inspection of locations that suffered flooding in 2022.

”Some of the locations that we will visit today are the Apo Dutse, Carters Court, one of the estates that was heavily flooded in 2022, Damangaza Bridge, along Ebeano Supermarket, Gudu and Galadimawa Interchange,” she said.

Similarly, the Director, Department of Development Control, FCTA, Mukhtar Galadima, affirmed the readiness of the department to continue the demolition of structures built on waterways in the nation’s capital.

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