COVID-19 responsible for spike in flooding – NEMA

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By Michy Abraham in Maiduguri

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) says the higher cases of flooding across the country this year is as a result of the rampaging COVID-19, as strategies to control flooding were not put in place at the appropriate time.

The agency explained that the time that was supposed to be used to come up with workable strategies to control flooding was wasted during the lockdown, lamenting that the rampaging virus had caused irreparable damage to the system.

Speaking during flood advocacy visit to Borno State by a delegation from the federal government, the Director General of NEMA, Air Vice Marshal Muhammadu Muhammed (Rtd.), said strategies to control flooding could not be put in place at the appropriate time because of COVID-19 which kept everyone indoor.

The NEMA DG, who was represented at the visit by top official in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Dr. Suleiman Abubakar said the visit to Borno was to checkmate flooding.

He said it was never too late to tackle the menace of flooding as many more heavy rains are expected before the end of the years.

He said: “We could have gone on the advocacy visits and undertake needed strategies against flooding before now, but the COVID-19 hampered movement but we are still here and going around to mitigate flooding.”

He said: “We are here on an advocacy visit on the 2020 flood. Your Excellency Borno State is known to be one of the food producers in the country with the citizens largely engaged in farming activities.

“However, the annual occurrences of flood have continued to threaten this potential. Flood has become a recurring experience in Nigeria.”

He said “though climate change has been largely blamed for this increasing phenomenon, it is our responsibility as government and people to evolve strategies to minimize losses through adherence to warning alerts, early preparation and proper response.”

He added that: “This year, the highly probable flood risk areas in Borno State are Marte, Maiduguri, Abadam, Mafa and Kukawa local government areas.”

Responding the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Yahaya Dankoli who received the Federal Government team on behalf of Borno State Government, expressed the appreciation of the state government, stressing that measures are already put in place to tackle flooding in the state.

He said with the instances of flooding no one have had to be relocated, noting that this is enough indication that strategies have been evolved to tackle the menace of flooding in the state.

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