The Federal Government on Friday donated relief items estimated at several millions of naira to flood victims in Akwa Ibom State.
This was as it urged the state government to set up local government emergency committees in the 36 local government areas of the state, as well as set aside predictable funding to the State Emergency Management Agency, to save lives during disasters.
The Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency, Mustapha Ahmed, made the appeal in Uyo, the state capital, during the hand-over of the relief items to the state governor, Udom Emmanuel.
He explained that the need to set up Local Government Emergency Management Committees in all the LGAs was in line with the best practices to take disasters risk management to the grassroots.
He explained that the need for predictable funding to SEMA, the LEMAs became necessary to save lives and safeguard livelihoods during disasters.
He said, “We are here in Uyo to commiserate with the government and the good people of Akwa Ibom over the human and material losses suffered as a result of the flood disasters. We are also here to hand-over relief assistance in form of food and non-food items including clothing and hygiene materials to His Excellency, the Governor of Akwa Ibom.
“Part of the relief items comprise grains and garri from the Strategy Reserves of the Federal Government as approved by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to support vulnerable Nigerians in time of food shortage. These materials are expected to give immediate succor to the affected persons to live in a dignified manner during this difficult moment.
“Let me say that the FG, through NEMA, cannot compensate persons impacted by disasters. NEMA cannot compensate people for the distress and traumatic experience they have suffered in time of disasters. Yet, we are committed to support people to get back on their feet and restart normal life with this type of relief intervention.
“We always pray for disasters not to happen, yet disasters and emergencies are part of and parcel of life. Growing population, increase competition for scare and dwindling resources and climate change phenomenon have increased the rate of occurrence and magnitude of disasters globally. Nigeria is not an exception as witnessed in this year’s rainy season with the unprecedented flood that impacted the entire Federation.
“In this regard, I want to appeal to your Excellency to set up Local Government Emergency Management Committee for each of the local government areas of Akwa Ibom to take disasters risk management to the grassroots.
“This is in line with best practices. Furthermore, I implore your Excellency to set aside a predictable funding to SEMA and LEMAs in all the LGAs to enable them intervene timely to save lives and safeguard livelihoods whenever disasters hit.”
Responding, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Moses Ekpo, appreciated the FG’s prompt responses to victims of flooding in the state and promised that the relief intervention would be equitably distributed through the State Emergency Management Agency.
He said, “As a state government, we want to appreciate the FG for the prompt responses to victims affected by the disasters in the state in terms of relief assistance and I want to assure that the materials will be distributed equitably to be affected persons through the state Emergency Management Agency.”
The materials include 1000 bags of 10kg rice 1000 bags of 10kg beans, 1000 bags of 10kg maize, 75 bags of salt (20kg), 75 bags of vegetables oil (20litres) and many others.