A group of international Civil Society Organizations, under the aegis of ActionAid Nigeria, has called on the Federal and affected state governments to declare a state of emergency in view of the flood crisis across the country.
In a joint statement made available to the press on Thursday, the groups said it was time for government at all levels to find sustainable ways to curb the perennial floods and the resultant effects in affected states of the country.
The group added that the floods situation also raised concerns that 19.4 million Nigerians across 21 states and the FCT could suffer a resultant food crisis as from August 2022, whilst the World Bank had also predicted 95.1 million people hitting the poverty line by the end of the year.
The statement read in part, “With thirty-one States and the FCT affected by the flood, it is time for Government at all levels (federal, state and LGA) to explore sustainable ways to curb the perennial flooding that some states are increasingly experiencing during the rainy season. A repeat of this in 2023 when households, farmers and States would still be in recovery process could be catastrophic as this would heighten pre-existing food insecurity, poverty and increase the number of out of school children, especially girls who in such circumstances suffer early and forced marriage and other forms of gender based violence.
“Whilst, we commend the current response by the federal and subnational governments, National and State Emergency Management Agencies, and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs & Disaster Management and Social Development, to the situation, particularly with the immediate provision of survival kits, food, and non-food items, we believe more can be done for the affected communities and the states in the longer term.”
The NGOs consequently called for a declaration of state of emergency in affected states, a launch of life-saving measures and rescue efforts in communities where persons were trapped, and a promotion of awareness, sanitation and preventive measures to curb the possible outbreak of waterborne diseases like Cholera.
They further recommended an introduction or adaptation of community surveillance and early warning systems on flood prevention and mitigation, to prepare for hazardous climate-related events, as well as the establishment of proper water channels to avoid blocking waterways and ultimately encourage river dredging in the relevant states.
The joint statement was signed by Ene Obi, Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria; Hussaini Abdu, Country Director CARE International; Usie Emmamuzou, Country Director, Plan International Nigeria; and Tope Fashola, Country Director Christian Aid Nigeria.