The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has declared a ‘national disaster’ in Kogi, Anambra, Delta and Niger, following high levels of flooding in the states.
Mr. Mustapha Maihaja, NEMA Director-General made the declaration during an assessment visit to River Niger on Monday in Lokoja.
Maihaja said that eight other states were also on NEMA’s watch list.
He explained that the states were experiencing the high levels of flooding as a result of heavy rainfall experienced in some parts of the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NEMA assessment visit was also to sympathise with residence of Lokoja since the rise of water on the River Niger had started submerging some of their houses and their farm land.
According to Maihaja, the rise in the water level as at Sept. 17, was already 11.06 meter high, hence the need to be proactive before the situation gets out of hand.
Maihaja said that NEMA had been constantly observing the flood situation across the nation since the pronouncement by the National Hydrological Service Agency (NIHSA) that there was going to be much rain in 2018.
The DG said that the pronouncement by NIHSA made relevant stakeholders in disasters management to have series of meetings in preparation for flood, and thereafter issued a red alert to the states which the flood is likely to affect.
“The increasing rise of the flood make us to put Nigerians on red alert, part of our operational structure is to establish disasters response team across the nation.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has mandated this delegation to do everything possible to curb this disaster situation.
“Lokoja and other Kogi environs seem to be the most threatening state since the rise level of the flood.
“We are sent here today to assess the situation and take informed action to tackle the menace,” Maihaja said.
Maihaja added that some relief materials have already been sent to the states where the flood had been affected to assist the people.
In his response, the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Mr Simon Achuba thanked the NEMA DG and his team for the visit and for providing the relief materials earlier sent to the state.
According to Achuba, the 2018 flooding was coming higher and the devastating effect was likely to be higher than that of the 2012, which submerged most of the communities.
Achuba said that there was no better time to declare a ‘state of emergency’ than now in order to make the people living at the riverine area leave because of the flooding.
“Some of this people living in the riverine area will not leave because of their agricultural activities but we still need to do our part to declare emergency.
“NEMA should look at this and begin to educate people on the dangers of living close to the river.
“The water transport system can be enhanced for people to move out of that area whenever there is flooding,” Achuba said.
The Deputy Governor also called for cordial collaboration between the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and NEMA for effective disaster control.
He added that the SEMA lacked so many equipment to use in disasters which have made their job difficult with little or no impact felt by the people.
Achuba, however, said that the relief materials sent to the state by NEMA would be equitably distributed to the people affected by the flood.