From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja

In preparation for any eventuality arising from the peak of 2023 rainy season, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), International Water Management Institute ( IWMI) and other stakeholders have agreed to strengthen their synergy ahead of any eventuality.

This agreement was reached at a workshop organised by the International Water Management Institute for stakeholders in Abuja on on Wednesday.

Directors-General of the Agencies,
Clement Nze in his remarks lamented that Nigeria experienced a lot of economic damages and lost of lives due to effects of flooding despite warning from relivent agencies last year.

Nze who was represented by Director of Hydro- Engineering NIHSA, Aisha Ibrahim said these negative impacts can only be curtailed through more promotion of sensitisation of the public on how flood impacts can be reduced since it is a natural disaster.

“The negative impact of flood will be on the decline by promoting better understanding of flood risks and ensuring that appropriate mitigating measures are deployed
appropriately.This is what the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency(NIHSA) stoodfor, that is,provision of reliable annual and seasonal flood forecasts and information for planning anticipatory and response measures for flood events.

He appreciated IWMI for hosting the workshop with critical stakeholders and bringing other key players in flood forecasting, flood early warning and disaster risk reduction together to deliberate on strengthening anticipatory action through flood forecasting and early warning systems

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On his part DG NEMA, Ahmed Mustapha Habib, who spoke through Daniel Obot, Director Disaster Risk Reduction restated that Nigeria has witnessed a lot of economic damages and lost of lives to flooding in 2022, adding that this is the best time to strategize to hinder reocurrences.

IWMI Regional Representative for West Africa,Olufunke Cofie in her welcome address said the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in response, has developed a Framework for Climate-Resilient Water Management that builds resilience into decision-making at all levels, across some linked domains for action.

She said “Globally, the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events have increased since the 1950s For each 1°C of global warming, extreme daily precipitation events are projected to intensify by about 7%. Flood risks will expand, with three times as many people exposed to the equivalent of a 100-year flood event by the end of this century. Surface water flows and availability will become more variable between seasons and years. Soil moisture levels will decline in some critical farming areas, challenging rainfed agriculture and increasing irrigation needs.

Dr Giriraj Amarnath, Principal Researcher, Management and Climate resilience, Group leader; Water Risk to Development and Resilience said that flood mitigation is a collective responsibility.

He insisted that agencies like NiMet and NIHSA have excellent capabilities of forecasting the rains and it’s duration but the most important thing is how the data users in the irrigation development are able to work with data effectively.

“This is not just a mandate of one department,we need to make sure that every relivent agency have to work together collectively to reduce the impact of flooding.”

There were goodwill messages from ministries of Environment, Agriculture,NiMet and others.