…keys to disaster mitigation remain Preparedness, Mitigation, Response, Recovery
Mustapha Habib Ahmed, the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), led a delegation to Kwara State on Thursday, June 22nd, 2023, to express condolences to the government and people of the state following a tragic boat mishap on the River Niger.
The incident, which occurred in the Patigi Local Government Area, claimed the lives of over 100 individuals and caused significant damage to the livelihoods of many.
Accompanied by key members of NEMA, including the Director of Relief and Rehabilitation, Alh. Alhassan Nuhu, the Special Assistant to the DG, Mr. Idris Abubakar Mohammed, and Hajiya Zainab Suleiman, the Head of NEMA Minna Operations Office, the Director General was received by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Kayode Alabi, on behalf of Governor Abdulrazaq.
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During the visit, Mustapha Habib Ahmed expressed his deep condolences and described the boat mishap as an especially tragic event due to the significant loss of lives and damage caused to the affected individuals’ livelihoods.
He commended the Kwara State Government, under the leadership of Governor Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, for providing immediate assistance to those affected.
In addition, Ahmed called upon the relevant authorities responsible for waterway safety to implement measures that would prevent a reoccurrence of such incidents.
Stressing the importance of proactive safety measures, he emphasized the need to prioritize the safety of individuals traveling on Nigeria’s waterways.
Concluding his remarks, the NEMA Director General announced that the agency had prepared relief materials to be distributed to the affected individuals based on damage assessment and need analysis conducted by NEMA.
These relief items are intended to complement the efforts of the Kwara State Government in providing immediate assistance to those affected.
Among the items are 1,000 bags of rice (10kg), 1,000 bags of maize (10kg), 1,000 bags of beans (10kg), 50 kegs of vegetable oil, 200 pieces of plastic buckets, 100 cartons of detergent, 220 blankets, 200 nylon mats, and 250 mattresses, among other essential supplies.
Prior to his visit to Kwara State, Mustapha Habib Ahmed had visited Akwa Ibom state, where he launched the “downscaling of disaster early warning measures to grassroots for effective life-saving early actions during the 2023 rainy season.”
Referring to the 2023 Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) and Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) released by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) respectively, Ahmed highlighted the early onset of rainfall and high probability of flooding predicted across the country.
Acknowledging the significance of raising awareness and implementing early warning systems to prevent floods, Ahmed emphasized that Nigeria experienced a devastating flooding incident in 2022, resulting in the loss of 665 lives and displacing over 2 million people.
To avert a similar catastrophe, NEMA has taken the initiative to communicate with all state governors and partners, providing information about the imminent floods and associated secondary hazards during the rainy season.
Ahmed stressed the importance of collaboration between state and local governments, as they play a crucial role as first responders, and encouraged them to take proactive and preventive measures aligned with NEMA’s focus on disaster risk reduction.