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FEMD warns of imminent disaster in FCT districts

The Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Department (FEMD), has warned of an imminent flood disaster in Jahi and Gishiri Districts, Abuja, due to building on waterways.

The acting Director- General (D-G) of FEMD, Mrs Florence Wenegieme, gave the warning in Abuja on Friday, after a risk assessment exercise in the areas by the department.

Wenegieme said that the assessment has revealed that residents have built houses on waterways and flood plains, while drainages were blocked in Jahi and Gishiri.

This, according to her, can lead to flooding, which she described as a disaster waiting to happen.

Wenegieme said, “Most of the waterways have been obstructed. Residents have built houses on water ways; they have encroached the streams; they have encroached into rivers.

“As you can see, the natural water course has been blocked, even the green areas have been overtaken by illegal buildings.”

She explained that the risk assessment exercise was to enable FEMD to develop strategic mitigating measures against flooding and other disasters and effectively respond to emergencies.

She said that FEMD would write to the Department of Development Control to visit the areas to ensure all developments in the areas were authorised and in conformity with the Abuja Master Plan.

The acting D-G called on FCT residents to desist from building on waterways and sought the cooperation of the residents in the protection of lives and properties following increased volume of rainfall.

In a related development, FEMD has trained 50 staff and volunteers on disaster response in line with global best practices.

Wenegieme said that the simulation training, which began on Thursday, was tagged, “Disaster Response Simulation Exercise.”

She said that the training focused on water safety, water rescue, building collapse, and fire outbreaks.

She said that the simulation exercise was organised to enhance the capacity of the staff and volunteers.

“This simulation exercise and drills are to build our capacity in terms of rescue operations of any kind while paramedics were trained on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation”.

“The training exercise is aimed at equipping the staff and volunteers of the department with the needed skills and expertise to help them discharge their duties in line with global best practices,” she said.

She explained that the volunteer local divers were selected from the six area councils of the FCT.

This, she said, would better equip them with modern and improved methods of rescue operations.

“We have local divers from the six Area Councils, as such, we need to polish their swimming skills, teach them the modern way of carrying out rescue operations during flooding,” she said.

Wenegieme thanked the FCT Minister, Mr.Nyesom Wike and the FCT Minister of State, Dr Mariya Mahmoud for the unflinching support to FEMD.

The Facilitator, Mr Joe Oduah, Chief Executive Officer, RCL Industrial Safety Centre, said that building the capacity of FEMD staff and volunteers would significantly improve disaster response and save lives and properties.