Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called for more action as the federal government of Nigeria continues to provide succor to citizens affected by floods across the country.
Osinbajo stated during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting which he presided over on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Briefing the Council, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, says medical support has been provided to 199 Local Government areas affected by flooding across the country.
She said that as at Oct. 21st, records indicated that no fewer than 3.2 million persons were affected by flooding in Nigeria.
“Today, with my colleague Minister of Water Resources, we made a presentation on the flood situation from the emergency and humanitarian aspect; we also have had series of consultations after the predictions by NIMET.
“My ministry took proactive early action steps through series of activities; we had technical analysis that produced a 2022 Early Warning Document.
“We also sent out letters to state governments; conducted a national consultative workshop on the 2022 Flood preparedness, mitigation and response at the national and zonal levels.
“Unfortunately, despite all these efforts, the statistics of persons affected as Oct. 21st shows that 3, 219, 780 persons were affected by the flood across the country.
“We have 1, 427, 370 persons that were internally displaced; we have 2776 persons that were injured; we also have 612 persons that lost their lives; we have 181, 600 houses that were partially damaged; we have 123, 807 houses that were completely damaged and we have 392,399 hectares of farmlands that were totally destroyed so far.’’
According to Farouq, the flood this year has been very devastating and very unprecedented.
She said that there was need for a coordinated response so as to rescue victims of the flood across many states of the federation.
The minister said that the coordinated response presented an opportunity to operationalise the recently approved National Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan.
“We have also sent out our search and rescue team that is being guided by a Search and Rescue and Epidemic Evacuation Plan.
“ Their personnel and teams require specialized and technical training; personnel protection gears and access to the right equipment.
“ Most of these specialised officers are skilled in first aid, defensive swimming and also how to handle boats in the riverine areas.
“The efforts so far in these communities are still on going with the search and rescue,’’
She said that the ministry had received report that in 144 local government areas, local communities also worked with the ministry’s teams to provide the first aid response to their families and neighbours.
Farouq said that the collaboration showed the resilience of Nigerians in trying times.
“Our search and rescue team, which is also responsible for evacuating people and providing life-saving first aid and medical support and referrals to hospitals has also been able to reach 199 Local Government Areas within 25 states of the federation.
“`We also provided portable water through fire vehicles in the northern and central states like Jigawa, Kano, Benue and Kogi that first experienced the flood and the equipment are now on their way to the southern states as we are stabilising in the north and experiencing flooding in the south.
“The disaster rescue units of the military are also providing support with equipment.
“ In the southern states the military is still carrying out surveillance; and aerial assessment of in doubted communities to guide the ground rescue efforts and evacuation of victims of the flood.’’
She said that the distribution of relief materials to affected states had commenced.
According to her, the Federal Ministry of Health has been requested to interface with the affected state ministries to intervene in medical related to post flood epidemics.
“We have 22 states that we have been able to deliver these relief items; it is worthy to note that transportation of relief has been affected by some inaccessible areas.
“For instance in the case of Bayelsa and Kogi States, out trucks carrying relief materials were almost submerged on the road hence the delay in the delivery of relief materials.
“ But to address this in Bayelsa, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is assisting us by airlifting these materials to the targeted communities.
“We are also distributing none food items in terms of shelter and other items; NEMA and the NAF officers are organising these materials to be airlifted to Bayelsa and Rivers State.’’
She appealed to state governments, ministries and departments to also collaborate at the sub-national level.
The minister said that some of the casualties were caused by the inability to respond to early warnings being issued by different agencies of government since February.
“Government is doing everything possible to see that we bring support and succour to our affected citizens.
“ We want to know that we hear them, we see them and we are with them at this trying moment,’’ she said.