Early warnings, effective ways to mitigate disaster, flood impact, Perm Sec, Meribole

The Ministry of Aviation has said that one of the effective ways of mitigating the negative impact of flood events is the availability of early warnings.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, Dr. Emmanuel Meribole at the public presentation of the 2023 Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) lamented that the 2012 flood was considered unprecedented in Nigeria, adding that in 2022 a new record of the worst flood in Nigeria’s history was experienced which destroyed over 569,000 Hectares of farmland, caused over 600 deaths and displaced over 1.3 million persons in 34   out of the 36 states of the Federation.

His words, “As you all may have known, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) is one of the parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Aviation, that is charged with the responsibility to advise the Federal Government on all aspects of meteorology; project, prepare and interpret government policy in the field of meteorology; and to issue weather and climate forecasts for the safe operation of aircraft, ocean-going vessels & oil rigs, and other socioeconomic sectors, including disaster risk reduction.”

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“The agency observes, collates, collects, processes, and disseminates all meteorological data and information within and outside the country. NiMet services cut across agriculture, aviation, building and construction, defence, disaster risk reduction & management, education, health, finance & insurance, marine & maritime, oil & gas, power & energy, and telecommunications, among others, in support of sustainable socio-economic activities in Nigeria.”

He noted that the impact of climate variability and change had continued to threaten livelihoods, infrastructure, and socio-economic growth across different Nations of the world including Nigeria.

This, he said was exacerbated by the steady rise in global temperatures and increases in concentrations of greenhouse gases such as Carbon dioxide, Methane, and Nitrous oxide in 2022 which have continued to warm our climate (WMO 2022).

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This, he equally noted has resulted in increased incidences of extreme weather events such as flooding, drought, wildfires, sea level rise, etc across the world.

He explained that over the years, nation-building and sustainable development are closely linked to the vagaries of weather and climate including how well nations take the advantage of the weather and climate information available to them.

The level of response by people and critical actors in the weather and climate value-chain according to Meribole was key to maximising the benefit of Early Warnings to reduce risks and impacts of weather-related disasters, regretting that weather-related hazards have become a global challenge, in the face of a changing climate, population growth, and increasing socio-economic activities.

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Prof Mansur Matazu, DG NiMet exchanging views with GM Public Affairs of the agency, Mr. Ibrahim Muntari at the just concluded capacity training in Abuja

The Seasonal Climate Prediction is one of NiMet’s flagship products, an invaluable Early Warning tool that has provided Stakeholders with relevant Climate Smart knowledge and information that will help reduce the risk of weather and climate change impacts in various weather-sensitive sectors of the economy and maximise the opportunities provided by the information contained in the product.

It has also helped increase and improve the level of preparedness by Federal and State Emergency Management Agencies, complement the flood prediction by Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), and served as an advisory tool for many stakeholders at the Federal, State, and Local Government levels.

Wole Shadare