The humanitarian group Christian Aid has launched a two-project to strengthening the ability of residents in three flood-prone states to prepare for disasters.
The €1.5 billion project (around N636 billion), with €1 billion from the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and the rest from Christian Aid, aims to improve early warning and early response systems for flooding in Benue, Kaduna and Plateau states.
The project, named “Improving Early Warning and Early Response Systems to Strengthen Disaster Preparedness in Nigeria’s Middle Belt (E4E)”, is expected to cover a total seven flood-prone communities in each of three local government areas selected from the three states.
Its purpose is to improve preparedness, timeliness and quality of risk information disseminated in the run-up to imminent flooding in the region—and inspire coordinated response from local, state and federal agencies with work related to disasters.
“These will be achieved by building community resilience and preparedness to flooding disaster, designing contingency plans for response, strengthening coordination among agencies of government mandated to respond to such disasters, and their capacity,” said Temitope Fashola, manger for governance and gender programme at Christian Aid Nigeria.
The launch of the project has brought together federal and state emergency management agencies, the Red Cross, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) and other disaster management institutions.
A planned meeting with state-level groups is to establish a baseline for communities to be part of the project, which is expected to reach some 40,500 individuals directly. The project will ensure that the direct beneficiaries are at the driving seat, making primary decisions and taking actions.
“Part of what we are doing is to get baseline survey across the 27 communities, because we believe what affects community A isn’t necessarily what affects community B,” said Bamidele Fagbite, senior programme coordinator at Christian Aid Nigeria.
“Specifically when we get all these together, it helps decide what kind of approach to use.”
NIHSA predicted some level of flooding could affect some 35 states this year.
“Already we have seen flooding in southern parts, but we are expecting bigger ones,” said Clement Nze, director of engineering hydrology at NIHSA.
Locations around the Niger and Benue river systems are most likely to be affected, according to the 2018 forecast by NIHSA.
It says flooding will not necessarily be as big as was seen in 2017, noting, “People have been taking proactive measures to reduce the incidence of flooding.”
The frequency, severity and spread of floods have increased in the last six years across the states.
Heavy rains between July and October, combined with rising water levels due to run off contribute to widespread flooding of settlements downstream from irrigation dams like Lagbo dam in Cameroun on Benue River.
But the project hopes to address critical gap in national disaster response which have been shown to be weak.
It will also bridge gaps in information management of existing risks and data, develop early warning information and coordinate mechanism from federal to state and local.