By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – The Executive Director, National Water Resources Institute, (NWRI), Kaduna, Professor Emmanuel Adanu has called on government to focus more on preventing disasters than managing it in order to save human, material and financial resources.
He made the call during a stakeholders meeting for development of appropriate infrastructure on Flood Marks organized by NWRI in Kaduna on Monday.
According to him, flooding is a natural phenomenon that the human race must put up with; adding that the attendance disaster or benefit of this phenomenon is what we have to manage effectively to the benefit of human existence.
Prof Adanu explained that Flood Marks are just like mile posts from one town to another and it tells people how far they have travelled or the distance they still have to cover to get to their destination to enable them prepare.
“Floods Marks therefore helps us identify levels at which a flooded environment will be to have an effect or not on the people, structures or facilities. So, we are using that as a standard benchmark.
“We are going to have mark posts or symbols or beacons all over the country along flood plains and then mark the levels of flood as in maximum we have had, then we graduate it down, or up from green to yellow and red,” he said.
Also, the Director Planning, Research and Forecasting, National Emergency Agency, (NEMA), Mr. Kayode Fagbemi, said the Flood Mark is going to serve a record purpose, as data will be gathered to say at a particular year this was the level of flood and then we can have historical data
He said that the structures will also serve as early warning messages, such that when people see flood marks getting to amber or yellow they already have a warning to move especially if one live around that area.
“Flood on its own is not a disaster, but a hazard and it is human interactions with floods that lead to disaster. For instance, if I intend to buy a plot of land and I see there is a mark that flood gets to two meters there I won’t buy the land.
“With this good initiative one could easily evacuate by having flood warning and this will lead to less deaths and destruction of property. It might not lead to less flood but less damage and consequences of disasters caused by flood.”
In her remarks, Chief Programme Officer, Department of Public Enlightenment and Mass Mobilization, National Orientation Agency, (NOA), Grace Mamman, said the Agency will partner NWRI in the area of advocacy and sensitization.
She said that with NOA structures in the 36 states of the Federation and 774 Local Government Areas including the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), information will be disseminated to the general public and to particularly persons living in flood prone areas to serve as warning; and also to ensure they understand the meaning of the colours on Flood Marks.
Earlier, in his presentation, NWRI Head of Drought, Flood and Erosion Control, Engineer Julius Onemano, said that the historic rainfall events that devastated parts of Nigeria in recent years exposed the Nation’s vulnerability to flooding.
He said that considering the frequency and severity of the flood events, erection of Flood Marks across the country becomes a vital project that can serve a very useful purpose such as; River Flood Watch (rise of river levels) and River Flood Warning.
“In the light of the above, some states of the country were selected as the sites for the proposed Flood Mark Monuments to be constructed
which include; Lokoja in Kogi State, Makurdi in Benue State, Onitsha in Anambra State and Yola in Adamawa State”.
According to Engr. Onemano, preventing and/or reducing losses is critically dependent on providing reliable information to the public about the risk associated with flooding.
To accomplish this prevention or reduction of Losses: “Accurate prediction of the flood elevations and inundation area and distribution of the information to emergency managers, urban planners, and the public is very important.
“Marking Flood inundation maps to correctly demarcate property lines beyond which no development or residential apartment should be erected,” he said.
It would be recalled that the 2019 Season Rainfall Prediction, (SRP), was released by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency, (NIMET) on January 24, 2019. According to the report, the general outlook of Annual Rainfall amount is predicted to be normal to below normal in Nigeria. Few places were however predicted to experience above normal annual rainfall.