By: Prudence Okonna
The former President of Malawi and Ambassador for Climate Change and Justice, Dr. Joyce Banda has commended the Director General of the FCT Emergency Management Agency, (FEMA), Dr. Abbas Idriss over his strides in the management of flood in the nation’s capital.
The meeting was held at the instance of the former Malawian President, who lauded FEMA for recording zero deaths to flooding in 2022 and indicated an interest to know how the feat was achieved by the agency.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the head of FEMA Public Relations, Nkechi Isa, Tuesday in Abuja.
According to Dr. Banda, the 2022 heavy floods and cyclone Freddy devastated Malawi, killing scores of people and displacing 2 million people. She added that Malawi and the FCT had faced similar climatic conditions last year.
The Ambassador noted that Malawi requires 700 billion dollars to recover infrastructure damaged by the floods, lamenting that the whole of Africa was paying the price of climate change.
“The people that were swept away by heavy floods on the 11th of March were ignorant people who did not contribute to global warming. The global north and global south must sit down and address climate change. The North must invest to fight climate change”. The statement read.
According to the statement, while responding, Dr. Idriss reaffirmed that devastating floods in 2022 claimed about 600 lives in the country, but that no lives were lost in the FCT.
He attributed this to several assessment tours of flood-affected areas immediately after the rains.
His words, “When we carry out the assessment and determine the cause of the flood we bring all the stakeholders together; Department of Engineering, town planners, urban and regional planning. We now intend to bring in estate developers, because sometimes the floods occur within an estate”.
The DG explained that the Administration was working out modalities to mandate developers who engage in infractions to pay for the removal of such structures.
Abbas also mentioned education, sensitization, and engagement of residents, particularly through town hall meetings as some of the measures adopted to mitigate flooding in the FCT.
Others are strengthening local emergency councils, training local divers on modern rescue techniques, emergency Marshalls, regular de-silting of drainages, blockage of dangerous slip roads, mounting of billboards in flood-prone areas, and the deployment of drones for aerial surveys of flood-prone areas.