• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Climate Change capable of devasting Niger Delta – NDDC

NDDC presents N1.9trn 2024 budget to House of Reps, pledges accelerated development

…seeks mitigations

…reports progress on construction of emergency shelters

Yearly flooding which is suspected to be a major fallout of climate change may soon pose a big force that may devastate the Niger Delta, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has said.

Consequently, experts in the region have already kickstarted a brainstorming session in order to propose solutions ahead.

Flagging off the session, Samuel Ogbuku, Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), acknowledged climate change as an existential threat capable of causing huge devastation in the Niger Delta region with possible enormous socio-economic impacts.

Ogbuku thus called for collaborative efforts in mitigating the effects of perennial flooding in the Niger Delta region.

Read also: NDDC, stakeholders to draw roadmap for N/Delta N51trn economy

He made the call during a one-day workshop on the implementation of flood disaster emergency response strategy across the Niger Delta region, organized by the NDDC Directorate of Environmental Protection and control in Port Harcourt.

Ogbuku feared that coastal and riverine communities, situated in low-lying areas, were especially at risk.

“Recent data indicates that from January 2021 to April 2023, flooding led to more than 100 fatalities in the region. As we approach the peak of the rainy season, urgent measures are necessary to minimize flood impact”, he said.

The CEO remarked that the NDDC was currently building multi-purpose emergency shelters across the Niger Delta region, stating that the project was conceived as a response to the frequent flooding challenges faced by Niger Deltans.

According to Ogbuku, the emergency shelters with amenities, which could accommodate over 1,000 persons, were designed to serve as a temporary place of refuge during flood emergencies.

“We realised that during flood periods, displaced people take shelter in school buildings and this comes at a great cost because the schools are forced to suspend academic activities.

“The Niger Delta, characterised by its distinctive topography and proximity to water bodies, experiences frequent flooding”, he said.

Ogbuku stressed the need for proactive measures in dealing with flood disaster management. He preached resilience.

In his Keynote address, Andrew Obafemi, a professor and former national president, Nigerian Cartographic Association and keynote speaker, advised intervention Agencies to initiate more enduring measures, noting that the challenge of ravaging flood in the region would be addressed holistically.

Obafemi, who spoke on, “Understanding the Niger Delta Context: Present Data on Historical Floods, Vulnerable areas and Existing Infrastructure”, harped on the need for information and relevant data to ward off flood disasters.

Read also: Exchange of communications baton at NDDC: Pius out, Seledi in

Earlier in his welcome address, Onuoha Obeka, NDDC Director, Environmental Control and Protection, an engineer, lamented that the Niger Delta region, known for its rich biodiversity and vital economic contribution to Nigeria, had unfortunately been plagued by recurring flood disasters.

“This workshop serves as a platform for us to share knowledge, best practices and innovative strategies aimed at bolstering our emergency response mechanisms and promoting sustainable recovery efforts in the aftermath of flood disasters.

“Implementing initiative of providing water level gauges/sensors at strategic positions around the river system in the region will provide an early warning mechanism that can help to evacuate people before considerable havoc is wrecked during the flood events.

“Let us embrace the spirit of unity. empathy and determination. Let us draw inspiration from the resilience and strength of the people of the Niger Delta and commit ourselves to building a more resilient and prepared region that can withstand the trials of nature and emerge stronger in the face of adversities”, he noted.