Daily Trust (Abuja)

16 May 2013

Nigeria: Senate Task Government On 2013 Flood Prediction

The Senate has mandated its committee on Water Resources, Environment, Maritime Transport and Special Duties to find out the level of Government's preparedness to tackle the impending challenges from predicted rain floods in 2013.

The Senate during a plenary session, Thursday, asked the committee to approach all levels of Government and other related agencies to ascertain their level of preparedness to provide palliative measures to flood victims and report back in two weeks.

Senator Ita Enang kick started proceedings when he read a motion on 'Emergency Preparedness for 2013 Flood and Rainfall Predictions: The Urgent Need for Dredging and Desilting of River Niger, the Cross River and other Inland Waterways in Nigeria'.

The motion which highlighted the devastation caused by rain floods in mostly river side communities across the country in 2012, noted that the Nigeria Meteorological Agency has presented the 2013 rainfall predictions where an almost 100 percent increase in rain volume was predicted as against that of 2012.

Senate members who roundly supported the motion pushed for appropriate action to ensure that flood victims don't suffer displacement from their homes when the flood comes.

The Senate President David Mark, while commending the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), for its efforts in 2012 said the relief agency was over stretched and resources available to them were scarce.

Senator Mark said government must be proactive and take adequate action to reduce the suffering of the people.

However, Hamzat Lawal, co-founder of Nigeria Youth Climate Action Network, blamed the government for not setting up proper responses to climatic threats.

According to Lawal, the double tragedy for victims of flood in Nigeria is that government is stalling on passing the Climate Change Commission Bill, while Nigerians are suffering the unmitigated effects of climate change.

He explained that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, (UNFCC) had listed Nigeria among countries most prone to suffer from the adverse effects of climate change.

He added that the UN has since made available adaptation funds to assist in mitigating climate change situations in listed countries, but Nigeria has not been able to access the fund, because it has not put in place the conditional legal framework to do so.

Apart from providing climate based micro insurance for victims of all kinds of disaster, the climate change commission bill is to guide the procedures through which Nigeria reacts to climate change incidence and report back to the United Nations.

Lawal called on all stakeholders to join in urging the Nigerian government to harmonize with international practices of adaptations to climatic threats.

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