The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has warned Nigerians to be safety conscious and take precautionary measures against the dangerous effects of rainstorms now being recorded in some parts of the country.
The Director-General of NEMA, Alhaji Mustapha Maihajja, said the admonition became necessary in order to build the capacity of Nigerians to enhance their resilience against the adverse effects of rain storms and flooding.
A statement on Tuesday by Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, the agency’s spokesman, quoted Maihajja as advising states and local government authorities to take proactive measures to mitigate the adverse effects of the rainstorms being experienced.
According to him, from the end of July to August, we usually experience heavy rainfall, with its associated consequences like flooding.
“Therefore, there are needs for checks and re-checks of the flash spots of flood plains, drainages, emergency flood spillage channels in urban areas and continuous sensitisation and awareness creation towards mitigating the effects of heavy rainfall.
“Parents must not expose infants and children to cold weather, in order to protect them against pneumonia, and any change in the health of the children must be reported at any standard medical centres.
“They should avoid sending children on errands when it is about to rain or immediately after any rainfall.
“Children like to play under the rain and do not know the dangers in running in water or flood, particularly as they are now on vacation.
“Also, there is the need to stop unhealthy dumping of dirt or refuse into the drainage system,’’ he said.
Maihajja itemised specific areas and actions to avoid and advised that people should take the following measures when necessary:
“In the North, there are earth dams that herders use to care for their herds, these earth dams have turned to dangerous spots to people in the communities.
“Children must be warned not to turn their neighbourhoods into swimming pools as rain water fill the earth dams; the kids usually turn them into playgrounds, leading to their untimely death.
“It is pertinent to state that every house must ensure that they have an emergency kit and make a family communications plan, especially those living in flood plain areas.
“For those living in high flood risk areas, if feasible, they should construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering their buildings and seal walls in basements with waterproof compounds.
“This is for people living in Lekki, Ajah and Lagos Island in Lagos State, Port Harcourt, Opobo and surrounding communities in Rivers State, Bayelsa State, Southern Cross River State, Rivers and the Niger/Benue axis.
“The present administration has enhanced the activities of the meteorological agency to issue weather reports hourly, such that if flooding is envisaged, Nigerians should listen to the radio or television for information.
“Most importantly, be aware of stream, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly.
“Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without typical warnings such as rain clouds or heavy rain,’’ he said.
Maihajja advised Nigerians against walking in flood water because of the possibility of fallen live electric cables and to avoid electrocution.
“Switch-off all utilities in houses whenever it is raining and block possible access routes that wild aquatic animals can crawl through into your premises.
“Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving.
“If flood waters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground, where water is not moving or not more than a few inches deep.
“You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly. If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, do not stay in the vehicle, seek refuge on the roof.
“Stay away from damaged areas unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, fire or emergency organisations,’’ he urged Nigerians.