NIMET Asked to Forecast Flood Disaster Years Before Manifestation
By Agnes Igwe
Stakeholders of Ebonyi local government council have challenged the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) to forecast and make available to the public predictions about occurrence of flood disaster years before its manifestation in order to avail people ample time to plan.
The stakeholders who gave the suggestion at the headquarters of Ebonyi local government council Ugbodo during one day NEMA/SEMA sensitization workshop on causes of flood and management, insisted that early forecast of the disaster by the agencies saddled with the responsibility shall provide enough time for both government and individuals to put in place precautionary measures to either avert or control the menace to avoid loss of lives, property, and waste of resources.
Recall, NIMET had predicted the occurrence of flood in 6 local government councils of the state before the end of October this year namely Afikpo North, Abakaliki, Ezza North, Ebonyi, Ikwo and Ohaukwu respectively.
Speaking during the workshop, the lawmaker representing Ebonyi North East in the state Assembly, Hon Victor Aleke who revealed that all farmers in his agrarian Onuenyim community including his parents have already lost all their crops to flooding expressed great displeasure about the late prediction and sensitization.
In interview with newsmen, his Ebonyi North West counterpart and Deputy chief whip of the house, Hon Benjamin Ezeoma, former minister of power and steel, Chief Goddy Ogbaga, state PDP chairman, Barr Onyekachi Nwebonyi who were among the stakeholders invited for the workshop all opined that earlier forecast and sensitization shall ensure proper management or even outright prevention of the disaster.
They called for relief materials to victims and timely sensitization at least one-year interval before the year of manifestation.
Earlier in their speeches, the Southeast Acting Zonal Coordinator of National Emergency Management Agency NEMA, Mr. Fred Anusim and his Ebonyi State counterpart Prince Andrew Iteshi regretted that following manifestation of the predictions there shall be increased breed of mosquitoes which would lead to increased cases of malaria, destruction of agricultural ventures, disruption of educational activities among many other effects and advised the people to engage in precautionary measures.
According to them, planting of improved fast-growing crops seedlings to ensure earlier harvest, building in accordance to government-approved plans, construction of proper drainage channels, proper refuse disposal, clearing of drainages and waterways are some of the measures to prevent the disaster.
On her part, the LGA chairman, Hon Mrs. Chinyere Nwogbaga appreciated the agencies and noted that despite that the sensitization was late; the knowledge gathered will still be useful next year because the area is always prone to flood.
She appealed to the agencies to provide relief materials for disaster victims in the area to cushion its effects.
Participants in the one day workshop include all traditional rulers, government appointees from the council area, town unions executives, youth leaders, traders, retired civil servants, and all well-meaning individuals were all charged to step down the message to hinterlands.