Lagos State government begins sensitisation campaign on how to minimise the impact of flood associated with the heavy rainfall predicted in the state this year
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Jun. 17, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
THE rain is here again. In view of the vulnerability which residents in flood prone areas of Lagos face during rainy seasons, the state government has advised the residents in flood prone areas to start thinking of alternative accommodation. According to the government, the relocation order has become imperative due to this year’s seasonal rainfall prediction that lives and property of the residents are in danger.
During a recent sensitisation tour of the local government areas, Tunji Bello, commissioner for environment, said that from meteorological forecasts, the state expected heavy rainfalls this year, and advised residents to vacate such areas to avoid disaster. He appealed to residents of the state to be conscious of their environment during and after rainy seasons. Bello said that the government had developed a map showing the topography of lands in the state to enable all the chairmen of the 57 local government councils and local council development areas to sensitise residents in their domains.
“I want to appeal to residents living in flood-prone areas of the state to move immediately. In the first place, they are not supposed to live in those areas. We are expecting heavy rains and naturally, that will come with floods. Though the government has put so many mitigating measures in place, it is essential that these people move to prevent emergency situations,” he said, adding that the map was to enable residents to know the safe grounds in their areas, and where they are expected to temporarily relocate in times of flooding.
The commissioner also warned various private telecommunications operators, PTOs, in the state to either relocate their installed cables found to be obstructing on-going upgrading of drainage channels in the state or have them forcefully removed. Bello noted that earlier notifications had been sent to them on the need to identify their cables and relocate them and threatened that, any further failure to heed the directive, the state government would have no other choice other than removing them.
On its part, the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, has vowed to curtail any emergency by the rains in the state. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, the general manager, said the agency was collaborating with all the engineers in the local councils to achieve the objective. “We are prepared for emergencies as we’ve learnt from the past to prepare for the future. The agency has put in place adequate measures to reduce flood. We have ensured continuous dredging of canals, construction of new primary, secondary and tertiary canals. Our preparedness has yielded results”, he said. Oke-Osanyintolu urged residents to desist from blocking canals with refuse, and advised them to contact the residential engineers in their respective local governments for any flooding or emergency.
Also, the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has strongly warned all stakeholders to take the 2013 weather forecast seriously by embarking on last-minute activities against anything that could turn the predicted heavy downpour into sweeping flood in identified towns and cities in the country. The agency said the warning was due to serious shortcomings noticed during its assessment of the level of preparedness of all segments of the society.
Ibrahim Farinloye, information officer of NEMA, South-West Zone, has described the level of preparedness as appalling, saying that the residents of the identified flood-prone areas were not appropriately enlightened and sensitised. He said that state and local governments are closer to the grassroots, and should mobilise the people towards mitigating possible harsh fallouts of coming heavy rainfall.
“NEMA had embarked on an independent exercise to monitor the state of preparedness of all towards the readiness of the nation against the challenges of climate change which has been taking its tolls on the African society. NEMA had mobilised all critical stakeholders in the three tiers of government, private sector, individuals and non-governmental organisations immediately after the presentation of the 2013 Seasonal Rainfall Predictions, SRP, in a series of meetings. State Governments were fully involved but the outcome of the exercise has left much to be desired,” he stated.