Chiemeka ADINDU, Calabar
As the rainy season for 2021 begins to gather momentum, the Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA says it won’t fold its hands so that there wouldn’t be a repeat of the challenges faced in the previous years.
Director-general of the agency, Princewill Ayim told TNN of the preparations on ground to avert the situation this year. He said the agency had always been proactive in handling emergencies of similar nature. He pleaded with the affected Communities to always adhere to the guidelines suggested by the agency during their campaign and advocacy program.
He said: “All the stakeholders are to gather at Abuja to get the flood annual outlook so as to use that to avert the situation. But nevertheless, we have also taken better measures. At the moment we’ve gone a little bit further, supported by the Nigerian Communication Commission; they gave us some appliances to act as a bridge between a distress caller and the agency.
“That one is faster, this is a digital age and everybody is going digital so we are also keying in the same line. We’ve gotten that and most of the stakeholders have gotten the equipment where they can be getting calls from people who are affected. They can use the opportunity to act. It’s ongoing, we are installing. I think we’ve installed about five agencies also which we work together with”.
He disclosed that SEMA did not only exist for flood issues but for every emergency which made the agency work in partnership with the Federal Road Safety Corps and the Fire Service. He said the agency would continue with her advocacy and sensitization programmes.
“If we don’t start now, the consequences will be too big for one to control. So, organizing all these units will help a lot at least to take it down to the grassroots; because most communities in Cross River State, they have local emergency members around them to sensitize the people.
“We need to get the outlook because when we get the Outlook from Abuja. It will guide us to know the magnitude of rainfall, the degree of rain and how we can manage it. These are natural events and they can come anytime; so we must get prepared. Preparation is key which is part of our mandate as an agency,” Ayim noted.
He revealed that the agency ought to have received the mandate but it was delayed as a result of the Corona virus outbreak which paralyzed activities around the globe. He added that SEMA was a secondary agency of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, adding that they considered a lot of factors before acting.
He assured Cross Riverians that the agency was working assiduously to ensure that the state will record less disaster this year. He noted that the ministry of environment and the urban development agency and many other agencies had their roles played to ensure that crisis was managed in the state.