On additional support for flood disaster victims

President Muhammadu Buhari, this week, expressed solidarity with Nigerians in several states affected by menacing floods and directed all federal government agencies “to use their authority and resources to assist the victims affected by the natural disaster.” The new presidential directive was conveyed through the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr.
Mustapha Maihaja.
The NEMA boss is mandated by the President to coordinate a national response to emergency situations.
He is also empowered to direct any or all agencies of government to use their authority and resources to offer assistance to victims affected by the floods.
The President, and rightly so, warned agencies of the federal government that failure to assist in the provision of succour to the victims to be reported to his office.
Expectedly, the President expressed his sympathies to all families who lost property and their loved ones arising from the floods.
He regretted that the loss of lives cannot be compensated.
Expectedly too, the President said the present administration would do all it can to minimise the suffering and misery of citizens affected by the disaster.
However, while it is good to minimise the suffering of the victims, something ought to be done too for those who now can be described as potential victims.
These are residents of areas designated as prone to or face the risk or threats of floods.
For too long, government agencies responsible for issuing flood threat warning have done what they were supposed to do, leaving the governments of the states affected to do theirs.
Unfortunately, they show no sign of doing so.
It would be recalled that in 2012 many states suffered floods, leaving in their wake dead and destruction of properties.
However, since that period little or nothing was done by the affected states to prevent another rounds of devastating floods.
Presently, Benue state faced the risk of floods, after it happened in in Niger, Kogi Anambra and Delta states.
Yet, there seems to be nothing on the ground to suggest that Benue state government is ready for the impending floods.
Even more disturbing, there seems to be nothing in states where floods have occurred to suggest that lessons have been learnt from the disasters and measures will be put in place to prevent further occurrence.
Things should, ideally, not continue this way.
A country does not develop by providing succour to its citizens who are allowed to suffer the indignity of living in displaced persons camps because they became victims of preventable disasters.
Therefore, emphasis must be placed by the governments on prevention, not mitigation and provision of succour to victims of preventable disasters.

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