The heavens will release the rains in deluge this year, posing danger to homes, roads and bridges. Worse still, air travellers may be in danger. Reason: Severity of the weather and “lack of preparedness by relevant agencies.” The warning was given by a technical committee of experts set up by the Federal Government.
The warning is contained in a document prepared and made available to Saturday PUNCH by the panel, which is chaired by the National Emergency Management Agency.
The committee, as the medium put it, also warned that severe flooding would likely wash away farms and lead to the destruction of livestock, thus causing severe hunger in the land. In addition, it predicted that severe weather might worsen malaria, cholera and other water-borne diseases, and escalate depression among Nigerians.
The warning was given in the 2023 climate-related disaster preparedness and mitigation strategies. The document, the report has it further, indicated that the agency developed the early warning messages in collaboration with several stakeholders, including representatives of about 22 ministries, departments and agencies.
The document showed that the 22-member technical committee signed the ‘Analysis of 2023 seasonal climate prediction’. They are: NEMA, the Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency, Nigeria Meteorological Agency, National Space Research and Development Agency, National Inland Waterways Authority, Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation and the National Orientation Agency.
The list also includes the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Environment, Federal Ministry of Education, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Federal Ministry of Transportation and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency.
Others are the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management, River Basin Development Authority, Jiga Dam, Nigerian Red Cross Society, Federal Fire Service, Centre for Disaster Risk Management, University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Agency; Erin Dam, Osun State, and the Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority, Minna, Niger State.
According to the document, following the public presentation of the 2023 Seasonal Climate Prediction by NiMet on January 24 and the Annual Flood Outlook by the NIHSA on February 17, 2023, NEMA, as the report contains further, convened a technical meeting of experts from relevant stakeholder-organisations who deliberated for two days and came up with the strategy as an early warning document based on thematic sectors.
“The strategy is to aid responsible organisations carry out preparedness and mitigation actions to safeguard lives, livelihoods, properties and the environment against hazards related to climate variability within Nigeria in 2023,” it stated.
The document stated, “Below normal rainfall is predicted over some places in the extreme North. This will result in water stress. Day time temperature is likely to be above normal all over the country. This will have an adverse impact on domestic animals leading to losses. High pests and diseases will also lead to losses of agricultural production.
“High rainfall, relative humidity, winds, temperature and sunshine affect aquaculture. All stakeholders, including development partners and NGOs, should embark on awareness and sensitisation for climate smart agriculture.”
The document stated, “Rainfall amount is predicted to be average to above average in most parts of the country. This also may result in over-flooding and improper termination of drainage systems, cause damages to critical infrastructure and leave communities inaccessible.
“Damages of water infrastructure, reduction in water quality and nutrient, cause erosion and flooding.”