Governor of Nigeria‘s oil-rich Delta state, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan has called for technical and capacity building assistance to enable the state predict and manage flood disasters in the state.
Governor Uduaghan who spoke while receiving Baroness Valerie Amos, The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and /Emergency Relief Co-ordinator in his office in Asaba explained that the state was preparing for the managment of the predicted flood for this year.
Dr. Uduaghan said “the state reacted promptly in handling the last year’s flood and post flood challenges especially the evacuation and rehabilitation of internally displaced persons. Now preparations are in top gear to handle any flooding eventualities this year”.
He appealed for technical and capacity building assistance and cooperation from the United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Baroness Valerie Amos for officials handling flood issues in the state.
Explaining further, Governor Uduaghan said “The assistance will improve the state ability to predict flooding aand managing flooding challenges. It will also ensure improved management of internal displaced persons and the flooded areas.”
In her address, Baroness Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General on Humanitarian Affairs said she was in the state to look at the consequences of last year flooding disaster in the state and seek for ways to partner with the state government on strengthening disaster management in the state.
She promised to collaborate with government in ensuring quick responses to emergency situations.
Also during a Town Hall meeting in Asaba organised by the state government as part of official visit of the United Nations Under-Secretary -General For Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, Baroness Valerie Amos, Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan restated his administration’s readiness to collaborate with the United Nation in the effective management of the post flood challenges facing displaced persons in the state.
He said the state government alone cannot handle the post flood challenges because of the enormous funds required, adding that Delta state government was willing to partner with the United Nations to enable it effectively manage the post flood challenges and mitigate the devastating effects of the flood on Deltans in the future.
“As a State with an office dedicated to foreign Relations, we place a high premium on partnership with the international communities and global organizations. We cannot handle these challenges flood alone. The state needs your help.
“We engage in a series of meetings in the US and Nigeria in order to make certain that the emergency situation in Delta is accorded its due priority and that the victims benefit directly from the intervening efforts of the WHO, UNDP, UNICEF and other implementing agencies of the UN”
The governor explained that the Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Co-ordinator, Baronness Valerie Amos and her team was in the state to access the extent of damage done by last year’s flooding and identify areas the United Nations can be of assistance to the state and displaced victims.
Speaking further he enumerated the post flood challenges faced by the state to include, the provision of farm seedlings and fertilizers to farmers in the affected communities, rehabilitation of affected houses and resettle who lost their farm produce to the flood stressing that most of the affected victims were farmers.
Dr. Uduaghan said the state was also faced with the problem of re-building destroyed houses for the victim but noted that the displaced victims have agreed to be relocated from flood plane areas to new settlement adding that the decision also had its own challenges.
The governor observed that the state also have the responsibility of rebuilding destroyed primary and secondary schools in the affected communities to enable the children continue with their education explaining that the Post Flood Disaster Committee estimated that it would cost about one million naira to rehabilitate affected schools.
While stressing that his administration would continue to work hard to support the flood victims who are vulnerable to the aftermath of the flood, Governor Uduaghan appealed for the support and cooperation of the United Nations agencies in this regards.
His words “ As a state government, we will continue to work hard to support the flood victims who have remained vulnerable in the aftermath of the flood. With your support, we know we will do even more and build on any modest stride following today’s assessment mission.”
In brief remark, the Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Co-ordinator, Baroness Valerie Amos commended Governor Uduaghan for his efforts and strategies in tackling the flood crisis and its aftermath .
She said that United Nations was ready to partner with Delta State Government in disaster management and post flood challenges in the state so as to make a difference in the lives of the victims.
Baroness Amos noted that the United Nation would focus on technical and capacity building support, the empowerment of women, education and Health saying “The United Nation will work together with Delta State in the area of women empowerment, education, health and technical expertise.”
She opined that United Nation have received the report of the technical committee set up to access the flood crisis in the state and has been discussing with the World Bank on possible areas of assistance to Delta State.
“We want to ensure that the disaster management especially on the flood crisis is adequately done to have impact in the lives of the affected victims.”
In his address, the Chairman of the occasion and former Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator Ike Nwachukwu said that “ flood disasters should not be taken lightly as it is devastating” .
He asked Baroness Amos to help provide assistance and funding to Delta state and other states ravaged by floods last year as “ no state has the capacity to handle the post-flood challenges facing them due to its enormous cost”.
He charged her to be an ambassador of the country by portraying the positive image she has seen during her visit.
Senator Nwachukwu commended Dr, Uduaghan on the management of last year’s flood disaster and the security challenges in the state and enjoined other state governments to emulate Delta State.
In a welcome address, the Senior Adviser to the Governor on Foreign Relations, Mr. Oma Djebah explained that the presence of Baroness Amos and her team in the state would help strengthen the partnership with the state government and improve on the living standard of the displaced flood victims.