· FEMA warns residents of “critical weather”
· Predicts flooding, “deadly thunderstorms”
By Sarah NEGEDU
As residents of the Federal Capital Territory brace up for the critical weather conditions predicted by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet, many are worried if the FCT can withstand the heavy downpour witnessed in 2022.
Though the FCT recorded no death in the torrential rainfall that swept through parts of the country, the devastation witnessed in neighbouring states remain a painful reminder for residents of Abuja
The 2022 foods in Nigeria has been the worst since the 2012, as it was reported to have affected 33 states and the FCT.
The floods caused by heavy rainfall and climate change as well as the release of water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon, led to the displacement of over 1.4 million people, killed over 603 people, and injured more than 2,400 persons.
However, the FCT Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, over the weekend, urged residents to prepare for heavy thunderstorms and other unfavourable weather conditions.
Director General of FEMA, Dr. Abbas Idriss, said the warning was necessitated by the recent forecast by the NiMET indicating that heavy rainfall was being expected in the FCT and some northern states, in few days.
The DG’ warning is contained in a press statement signed by the FEMA Head of Public Affairs, Nkechi Isa, on Saturday and made available to journalists in Abuja.
The statement said that the DG has placed the search and rescue team volunteers, and all other staff of the agency on high alert.
FEMA disclosed that according to the early warning by NiMet, thunderstorm cells are currently observed over the northern parts of the country including Borno, Taraba, Gombe, Bauchi and Kano and are expected to propagate westward and result in thunderstorms accompanied with squall to cities in Plateau, FCT, Nasarawa, Jigawa, Adamama, Yobe, Borno, Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, and Katsina state in the next few hours.
The NiMet predicted that for areas where thunderstorms are expected, strong winds are likely to precede the rains and as such, trees, electric poles, unsecured objects and weak buildings may be felled
It advised the public to be cautious and stay in-doors especially during heavy rainfall to avoid being struck by lightning.
In the light of this advisory, FEMA warns all business operators in the FCT to avail themselves of weather reports periodically for effective planning in their operations.
It added that moderate to heavy rainfall could lead to flash floods, which usually affects the residents of the FCT.
The DG, thus, charged the Search and Rescue Team to take proactive measures to avert any loss of lives and property during this period.
Idriss also appealed to FCT residents to heed the early warnings and avoid anything that could lead to loss of lives or destruction of properties. Motorists should not drive through a pool of water.
In addition, he advised that they also avoid indiscriminate dumping of refuse as well as anything that could block the water ways.
The FEMA DG also called on the residents to join hands with the agency to ensure adequate protection of the environment in order to avoid the consequences of climate change.