17 August 2013

Nigeria: Desert Threatens 40 Million but Floods More Urgent

More than 40 million people are threatened by desertification in the north of the country, environment minister, Hadiza Mailafia has said.

But a more pressing problem is flooding.

The European Union Technical Assistance Mission to Nigeria is in the country to assess impact of last year's flooding, which ravaged homes in several states, affecting millions.

It came at the invitation of National Emergency Management Agency and National Planning Commission, the environment ministry said in a statement Friday.

Mailafia has called the mission's visit "timely and a buffer in tackling the. menace caused by flooding in Nigeria."

Ongoing work between the environment minister and the World Bank to "arrest flooding", the minister said, is using water shed and new map projects.

But she said NEMA and the EU should find "areas they both can assist and arrange to tackle the challenges of flooding in the country."

The EU team, led by Kimmo Tuominen, will map risks, focusing on hydrogeological risks and related industrial hazards, said NEMA director-general Sani Sidi, who led the delegation.

It will also work on procedures and planning for emergencies, how different agencies communicate in emergency, as well as early warning systems and how information related to forecast and alert procedures is managed.

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