Be safety-conscious this rainy season, NEMA urges Nigerians

• Gives tips on emergency response

The National Emergency Management Agency of Nigeria (NEMA) has warned Nigerians to be safety conscious and guard against the dangerous effects of the current extreme heavy rainfall being experienced in various parts of the country.

The Director General of the agency, Engr. Mustapha Maihajja said the admonition became necessary in order to build the capacity of Nigerians to enhance their resilient against current adverse effects of the raining season and flooding.

Engr. Maihajja enumerated precautionary measures that should be adopted during emergency and called on the States and Local Government Authorities to also take measures to mitigate the adverse effects of the heavy rains.

He pointed out that periods between the end of July till August has often beena season of heavy rainfall with its associated consequences like flooding.

He therefore stressed the need for checks and rechecks of the flash spots of flood plains, drainages, emergency flood spillage channels in urban cities and continuous sensitization and awareness creation towards mitigating the effects of this year’s heavy rainfall.

He also advised that parents must not expose infants and children to cold weather in order to protect them against pneumonia, adding that changes in the health of children must be reported at any standard medical centres.

The DG further admonished parents to avoid sending children on errands when it is about to rain or immediately after rainfall.

“Children like to play under the rain and would not know the dangers embedded in running water or flood as they would be on vacation now. The need for stopping unhealthy dumping of dirt/refuse into the drainage system should stop,” he said.

Engr. Maihajja

He further gave the following tips:

  • In the North, there are earth dams that herders use to care for their herds, these earth dams have turned to dangerous spots to the people in the communities and people must ensure children must not turn the place into swimming pools as rainfalls fill the earth dams, the kids usually turn them into playing leading to death of those some of the children.
  • It is pertinent to state that every house must ensure there’s an emergency kit and make a family communications plan, especially those living in floodplain area.
  • For those living in high flood risk areas, especially Lekki, Ajah and Lagos Island in Lagos State, Port Harcourt, Opobo and surrounding communities in Rivers States, the Bayelsa State, Southern Cross River State, Rivers Niger/Benue axis, if feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds.
  • It is pertinent to state that every house must ensure that an emergency kit and make a family communications plan especially those living in floodprone areas.
  • However, to ensure safety, the agency noted that the present administration in the country has enhanced the activity of the metrological Agency to issue weather focus hourly.
  • Also note that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
  • Most importantly, be aware of stream, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without typical warnings such as rain clouds or heavy rain.
  • NEMA is advising that if you had travelled out of a community after some months, do not drive through a road you seem to have known earlier, wait till the rainwater has subsided because bridges or channels could have been washed away within weeks after your journey.
  • Avoid walking in floodwaters because of live electric cables to avoid electrocution. Switch off all utilities in houses whenever it is raining.Block possible access route that wild aquatic animals can crawl into your premises.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground, when water is not moving or not more than a few inches deep. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly. If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, do not stay in the vehicle, seek refuge on the roof,” Engr. Maihajja, advised.

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