The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has attributed climate change to the worst flood disaster witnessed in Nigeria this year.
The Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi disclosed this at the end of the 18th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha, Qatar.
Speaking at the event, Mr Sani-Sidi said the climatic condition and drastic change to whether pattern contributed to massive flooding witnessed in the most states in Nigeria where lives were lost and sources of livelihood worth billions of Naira were destroyed.
He said: “We are now living witnesses to the reality of climate change and global warming where areas considered as dryland in the Northern part of the country witnessed excessive and torrential rainfall while some communities in the South were also submerged.
“NEMA has received tremendous support from all stakeholders during the recent flooding in many parts of the country. This is the first time we would have good collaboration with stakeholders during emergency response period. However, the law establishing NEMA states that there shall be state and local government emergency management agencies; but unfortunately, not many states have functional and effective institutional framework to manage disasters.”
Mr Sani-Sidi said within the limits of its resources, the agency had responded well to the recent flood disaster, which affected about 25 percent of the country by mobilising its personnel to provide rescues and relief services to victims.
On what should be done to mitigate the impact of flooding in the country, Mr Sani-Sidi said, “We must be environmentally conscious, where we need to build buffer dams, we must build; and people in flood plains should move to higher grounds.
“State governments must be serious about emergency management and local government authorities must also be serious. We need to create awareness and build capacity so that we can reduce our people’s vulnerability.”
On NEMA’s participation at COP 18, the director-general said that, as disaster managers, the agency finds the conference relevant, especially with the country’s recent experience of natural disasters attributed to climate change.