The Akwa Ibom Government has warned the residents of the state against dumping of refuse in drains and water channels to avoid flood disaster during the rainy season.
The State Deputy Governor, Mr Moses Ekpo, said this during the stakeholders’ meeting on flood sensitisation, preparedness, mitigation and response in Uyo on Friday.
Reports have it that the event was organised by National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in collaboration with State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).
Ekpo, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Deputy Governor’s Office, Mr Nkopuruk Ekaiko, cautioned residents against building on water channels.
He also urged them to help in de-silting blocked drainages.
“The 2022 NIMET’s Seasonal Climate Prediction and Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Annual Flood Outlook, has already listed our state amongst areas in the country with a high-flood risk.
“Our state is faced with threats and prospects of both natural and man-made disaster which include flooding, thunder storm, heat weaves and land slides.
“Also on the rise are man-made disasters such as communal crises, fire-outbreaks, building collapse, chemical and environmental pollution, amongst others.
“This meeting is a wake-up call for our people to be alive to their own responsibilities in this regard.
“The initial thrust in flood disaster management should be for the locals to desist from building on water channels, dumping of refuse in the drains and helping in de-silting blocked drainages without necessary being promoted by force of the law,” Ekpo said.
Ekpo expressed optimism that the meeting would provide a common ground for relevant stakeholders to work closely with the state to facilitate activities in providing relief and assistance to disaster victims.
Earlier in his remarks, the Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, Mr Godwin Tepikor, urged members to put in place proactive measures to prepare for and respond to the risks that are expected to come with rainy season.
Tepikor, who spoke on behalf of the Director-General of NEMA, Mr Mustapha Ahmed, said that Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) for 2022 by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has forcasted that 455 Local Government Areas (LGAs) across 32 states and FCT would witness heavy flooding during the rainy season.
He added that the AFO predicted that 17 LGAs in Akwa Ibom are probable flood risk areas in 2022.
“This prediction, therefore, serves as a decision support tool for states, as it provides key information to ease decision making process, especially for strategic planning, policy making and implementation for various stakeholders involved in flood management,” he said.
He said that with the advent of climate change, the magnitude, frequency and intensity of disaster have been on the rise across the globe and the South South in particular.