'Why Jigawa govt must declare state of emergency over flood disaster'


Flood in Jigawa community

By Muhammad Nasir Bashir

An NGO, ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), has urged the Jigawa Government to declare a State of Emergency because of flood that had wrecked havoc across the 27 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.

The ActionAid’s Resilience Coordinator, Mr Anicetus Atakpu, made this known while speaking with newsmen in Dutse, on Sunday.

Atakpu said the declaration is imperative as Jigawa is one of the most affected by flood with the 27 LGAs submerged.

“And for us, it is more worsening for Jigawa since according the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, it is the third poorest states with 87.2 per cent and known as majorly agrarian.

“And with the flood having destroyed farmlands and properties, the effect of the flood would in a long way increase the poverty level of the state,” Atakpu said.

He explained that despite the devastating effect of the flood, the organisation is yet to witness total declaration of a state of emergency by any state or the Federal Government.

“It is sad that even up to this point, with the havoc that flood has caused, we have not seen a total declaration of state of emergency on this issue by any state or by Federal Government.

“So we join voices to say that even in Jigawa, we call for the declaration of a state of emergency by the government so as to support recovery process.

“This is important because lives were lost, property and farmlands destroyed.

“Like we said, Jigawa state will still be more impoverished if something is not done as a way of declaring a state of emergency on flooding,” he said.

The resilience coordinator, however, enjoined the state government to prioritise the implementation of the 12 recommendations by the International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGO) forum made on Oct. 20, in Abuja, during a press conference.

According to him, the recommendations included, in the medium term, declaration of state of emergency by Federal and affected State Governments, launching of immediate life-saving measures by stepping up the search and rescue efforts to ensure that trapped communities are immediately evacuated.

Others are prioritisation of provision of emergency assistance to persons displaced and living in various camps and host communities – these would include providing food and non-food items, protection for women and girls.

Among the recommendations also were promoting awareness on sanitation and prevention measures to curb possible outbreak of waterborne diseases.

“And immediate provision of education in emergency situations to minimise the negative impact of flooding on children,” he said.

In the medium to long term, Atakpu said the recommendations included integration of flood risk management with spatial planning and immediate humanitarian coordination in the affected states.

“To avoid duplication of responses, introduction or adoption of community surveillance and early warning systems on flood prevention and migration, is necessary to prepare for hazardous climate-related events.

“Others were prioritisation of issues around climate by increasing funding for agro-ecology and creating awareness to reduce the impact of climate change, implementation of interventions that support families and communities to recover their losses.

“Establishment of proper water channels, avoid blocking of waterways and ultimately encourage river dredging in the relevant states and increased provision of food, temporary shelter and hygiene/medical attention to affected communities, as well as sustained investment in infrastructure.

“Particularly, there should be climate-smart buffer dams to effectively contain excess water spills from Ladgo dam and construction of elevated bridges in places like Koton-Karfe and Lokoja to prevent commuters from being stranded in future as Kogi is a nodal state,” Atakpu said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that ActionAid Nigeria, on Saturday distributed cash and relief materials to 1,200 women-led households affected by flood in three Local Government Areas of the state.

The intervention was provided in collaboration with its Jigawa Local Right partner, Baba Azimi Foundation (BAF), with funding from STARTFUND.

Some of the beneficaries were given N20,000 as cash-for food and Dignity kits, consisting of sanitary items to lactating and pregnant mothers in some of the 1,200 households. (NAN)

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