Samuel Luka, Bauchi
As this year’s rainy season geared towards it peak, Gombe State Government has assured that proactive measures have been put in place to reduce the effect and negative impact of flood and other environmental challenges in the state.
According to the state government, to move is in response to the prediction made by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NHSA).
The NIMET and NHSA have predicted that some Northern states, including Gombe would witness heavy downpour with thunderstorms and strong winds in the coming months.
In the case of Gombe, NiMET and NHSA reports identified local government areas such as Nafada, Yamaltu Deba, and Balanga as having higher risk of flooding.
To mitigate the impending danger, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya immediately directed the state Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources to work with all relevant stakeholders and activate state emergency response and management resources towards ensuring the safety of lives and property of the people should the disaster occurred.
Acting on the Governor Inuwa’s directive, the Ministry had constituted a task force to engage all relevant stakeholders such as the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA),Gombe State Environmental Sanitation and Protection Agency (GOSEPA), Ministries of Works, Health and Education, as well as non- governmental organisations for regular consultative meetings to come up with ways of mitigating the impact of the incidents in case they occur.
The Ministry has also engaged in aggressive advocacy exercise and community sensitization campaign on the new weather alert in all the envisaged flood-prone areas within the state on how people will take self-precautionary and mitigating measures.
Government, through the Ministry of Environment has also embarked on desilting of drainages and water channels.
It has also desilted of at least a 2km radius in all the other ten local government headquarters in the state to prevent flash floods and allow for proper drainage of runoffs especially in densely populated areas.
The crisis response unit of the Ministry is put on alert for constant monitoring of weather patterns and other environmental changes for prompt and timely response to any environmental issue that may pose a threat to the safety of lives and properties.
It has also mapped out some shelter zones to serve as a haven to displaced persons during emergencies in all the local government areas, and provided these centres with needed amenities and services.
The Ministry of Environment, as directed by the Governor, is also collaborating with the Ministry of Education to ensure schools and the entire education system is not disrupted by flooding or any severe weather phenomenon.
Giving insight on its readiness to participate fully in the entire risk management process, the Gombe State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA confirmed that it has adequate stock to support the people that may find themselves in an emergency situation as a result of the weather events.
As contained in a statement by Ismaila Uba Misilli, Director-General
( Press Affairs), Government House
Gombe, the Agency advised members of the public to adhere to early warning signals of potential flooding while avoiding building on flood plains and waterways.