In its bid to have improved disaster management system in Kaduna State, Christian Aid (CAID_Nigeria) has facilitated a two-day meeting with stakeholders on early warning and early response aiming at strengthening disaster preparedness in Nigeria’s middle belt.
The meeting, which was specifically organised to see how the state can reduce the impact of flood in flood prone areas in selected three local government areas of the state for pilot phase of the two years project through effective collaboration with government agencies, communities, NGOs, CSOs and CBOs, was coming after a forecast by Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) that the state may experience flood this year.
Taking the participants through a presentation titled “Early Warning Response System around flooding”, a former Director of Centre for Disaster Risk Management and Development Studies, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, Professor Edwin Iguisi lamented the number of lives and volume of property the country has lost to flood which he said were actually preventable if adequate measures had been put in place earlier.
According to this scholar, disasters like flood are increasing in frequency and magnitude due to climate change, conflict, poverty and wrong allocation and usage of land by government officials and some ‘powerfuls’ among others.
He said, “this training is very apt especially as we approach the months of July, August and September when the water level in rivers and dams is at the highest level. The idea of bringing together the agencies of government working around disaster management was to see how the issue of flood can be addressed using locally developed management plans.
“Flood is preventable and this is where the early warning and early response come in. We need to wake up to the reality on ground. All collaborating agencies must come together and work together to prevent preventable disasters from happening”, he urged.
Earlier, Programme Manager, Governance and Gender, CAID_Nigeria, Tope Fashola said, his organisation believed it can eradicate poverty by way of ensuring that, the systems and structures that are responsible for poverty are strengthened.
“If different organisations can work together, there will be no need for disasters like flood because it just don’t come without warnings.
“We selected three states which are Plateau, Benue and Kaduna and few local governments in these states in the pilot phase of this project which will last for two years. In Kaduna, we have Kaduna North, Kaduna South and Chikun local government areas.
“In this two-day meeting, we will be discussing disaster management specifically on flood. Though we shall be sharing experiences outside Nigeria, but that will not determine the design of the project as it affect Kaduna as a state in Nigeria.
“Our agenda is that, we believe in life before death. We believe people should not die as a result of flooding because we all know how it happen. Its not natural disaster as such because the community know when and where it will come.
“There is no point for anyone loosing property as far as flood is concern. We want to support State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) as coordinating agency for this project. We are not saying nothing is happening but to see how we can come together to see how we can rally support to save lives and property.
“The project, Improving Early Warning and Early Response Systems to Strengthen Disaster Preparedness is funded by The European Commission – Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operation (ECHO), has charged us to work directly with CSOs, CBOs and others that matter in capacity strengthening to reduce flood and its aftermath effects on humans and ecosystem.”
OJO SOLA SENT IN THIS REPORT