The FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has urged Abuja residents to stay alert to the predictions issued by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA).
The Director-General of the agency, Alhaji Abbas Idriss, gave the advice at the 2021 Annual Flood Review and Preparedness Meeting with 150 Divers, Community Vanguard, Local Emergency Committees and Town Criers, on Friday in Abuja.
Idriss explained that the predictions as issued by the two agencies have implications on various sectors of the economy, be it agriculture, transportation, water resources, communication, energy, other critical sectors and disaster management.
” This calls for greater preparedness by all. One of the key objectives of this meeting is to strongly draw the attention of all members of communities to take seriously the 2021 flood predictions for the FCT,” he said.
Idriss said that FEMA at the community level had to make greater use of town criers, in addition to electronic media, to carry out flood sensitisation and awareness campaign, especially in remote communities.
” The effectiveness of this approach justifies our invitation of town criers to be part of this forum today.
” It is equally important to state here that at the Area Council level, Local Emergency Management Committees are saddled with the responsibility of implementing Disaster Risk Reduction programmes- including Flood Prevention, Mitigation and Response at the grassroots.
” Apart from other forms of emergencies which they are also expected to tackle, hence their strategic position in the National Emergency Management Framework.”
He restated the commitment of FEMA to train and retrain divers, community vanguard and town criers, and provision of modern operational gear to boost their capacity as first responders in various communities.
Earlier, Mrs Florence Wenegieme, the Acting Director, Forecasting, Rescue and Mitigation, FEMA, said the meeting was part of efforts of the agency to prevent FCT residents from flood and other disasters.
He said the role of divers, community vanguard, local emergency management committee and town criers was pivotal to the agency’s successes in flood rescue operations.
” This is a very important programme that will help us to make sure that the residents of FCT leave safely and happy,” she said.
Responding on behalf of the local divers, Malam Halidu Abdulkadir, from Gwagwalada Area Council, who thanked the agency for building their capacity, stressed the need of FEMA to equipping them with the necessary tools to discharge their responsibilities effectively.