By Emmanuel Acha
The Enugu State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) on Monday embarked on its routine flood emergency awareness to rural communities across the state.
Executive Secretary of the agency Nkechi Eneh said that the awareness campaign became necessary following the 2019 annual flood outlook released by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NHISA).
Eneh, who was addressing traditional rulers, town union executive members and other stakeholders in Enugu East Local Government Area, said that the area was marked as a probable flood risk area.
“The NHISA in its 2019 annual flood outlook mapped this local government area as one of the probable risk areas in the state.
“This campaign is, therefore, aimed at enlightening the communities that will be mostly affected by flood on the dangers of flood disasters and also provide them with some risk reduction measures,” she said.
The executive secretary said that emergency and disaster were on the increase, adding that the state had witnessed its fair share.
She said that the safety of the residents was top priority to the state government.
“We have come to alert you on the urgent need to avoid socioeconomic activities along flood plains and to relocate to safer grounds where possible,” she said.
Eneh appealed to the participants to seek out and contribute measures that could be deployed to avert future occurrences of flood devastation in order to enhance the resilience of the rural communities.
The Zonal Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Fred Anusim, commended SEMA for being proactive in the issues of emergency management in the state.
Anusim said that NEMA was partnering with its state counterpart to sensitise rural communities to the 2019 flood outlook.
He said that it was their responsibility to stir up the consciousness of the communities to be resilient when disaster occured.
He said that communities in the local government area would witness 224 days of downpour between April 12 and Nov. 24, 2019.
Anusim said that the amount of the rainfall would be 1,741mm, adding that it would favour agricultural yields.
He, however, said that most agricultural fields would be flooded and advised farmers in the area to ensure that they harvested their farm produce early.
He said that incidences of pest infestation in the farms would be rampant hence such should be reported to SEMA and agricultural extension workers whenever it occurred.
He said that the heat waves that would follow the season would cause heat strokes and measles while the temperature would encourage the breeding of mosquitoes leading to incidences of malaria.
Anusim urged residents of the area to take proactive measures that could reduce the impact of the flood when it occurred.
Earlier, the Chairman of the council, Chief Alex Okezie, appealed to participants to take seriously the sensitisation campaign as that would determine their response when the flood occurred.
Okezie said that the participants would further cascade the lessons that would be learnt from the programme to the grassroots. (NAN)