Environment

NEMA moves to contain flood disaster in Southeast

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), says it has taken pro-active and robust steps to contain flood in states within the South-East, especially those in riverine and low land communities.

The South-East Coordinator of NEMA, Mrs Ngozi Echeazu, disclosed this to newsmen in Enugu on Monday, while fielding questions on NEMA’s practical steps to contain and reduce impact of flooding in the zone.

Echeazu said that NEMA, in collaboration with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), was also monitoring water levels in major rivers in states in the zone.

The NEMA coordinator said: “The practical steps taken by NEMA include monitoring the water level of major rivers, especially the River Niger.

“This is rightly done to determine when to commence evacuation, since we have already identified higher grounds or Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps for temporary shelter.

“NEMA has engaged in updating the public through media publicity on seasonal climate prediction and annual flood outlook, as well as sensitisation of riverine communities, in collaboration with the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), on the importance of clearing blocked drainage systems and removing structures on flood plains.”

She noted that there had been sensitization on early planting and harvesting of farm products to reduce huge losses associated with flooding; and mass mobilisation of all available human and material resources to help save lives and properties.

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Echeazu said that the Agency had concluded plans to get help and support for its flood quick response plan.

“There is an existing plan with other relevant agencies, including military/para-military, in the area of coordination/support, information management, resource mobilization and evacuation.

“They will also support NEMA in terms of security/intelligence, incident management, meteorological forecast, survival support and media control, among others.

“The plans are also spelt out in the policy document of NEMA,” she noted.

On distribution of relief materials, Echeazu noted that NEMA had always been directly involved in the distribution of relief materials to beneficiaries.

She said that approved relief materials are usually distributed directly by NEMA and SEMA officials to the affected persons/communities; notwithstanding the ceremonial handing over of such materials to the state governments.

“Whenever there is a reported case of disaster, NEMA, in collaboration with SEMA, conducts an assessment to confirm the level of the disaster.

“The assessment also ascertains the remote/immediate cause, the damage/needs of the affected people, list of the affected people and makes appropriate recommendations.

“Relief materials are thereafter provided by NEMA for those who were affected by the disaster, whose names were captured and not for the entire population,” she added.

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