In a recent development, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has been put on high alert following an alarming notification from the Cameroonian government regarding a potential flood risk along the banks of River Benue. The alert, communicated through a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has prompted NEMA to take swift and proactive measures to prevent extensive damages and protect affected communities.
The alert, issued in a letter dated August 21 and signed by the Ministry’s Director of African Affairs, Umar Salisu, revealed that the Cameroonian authorities are contemplating the opening of the floodgates of the Lagdo Dam situated on the Benue River. The rationale behind this decision is attributed to heavy rainfall in the dam’s catchment area in Northern Cameroon. The letter emphasized that the Cameroonian government intends to release water from the dam in a controlled and gradual manner to mitigate the potential impact of flooding on downstream areas.
As a consequence of this impending release, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has earnestly called upon NEMA to adopt precautionary measures to minimize any adverse consequences. The letter underscored the importance of reducing potential damages and ensuring the safety of residents living along the River Benue basin in both Cameroon and Nigeria. Salisu urged NEMA to proactively sensitize the affected populace, encouraging vigilance and adherence to recommended safety precautions.
In response, Nonso Ezekiel, the spokesperson for NEMA, confirmed the agency’s awareness of the alert and its commitment to taking preventative actions. Ezekiel conveyed that NEMA has already begun the process of sensitizing communities residing near the River Benue. He assured the public that the opening of the dam gates is a regular occurrence and not unexpected. The controlled release of water is carried out to prevent the dam from exceeding its capacity, which could potentially result in a catastrophic breach.
Ezekiel reassured residents of the affected areas that NEMA is actively coordinating with relevant authorities to ensure the safety of the population. He encouraged residents to remain calm and follow the instructions of local authorities, should the situation escalate.
In conclusion, as NEMA springs into action in response to the alert from the Cameroonian government, the joint efforts of both nations’ disaster management agencies underscore the importance of cross-border collaboration in safeguarding communities and mitigating potential damages caused by natural events. The vigilance exhibited by NEMA in sensitizing communities and preemptively addressing the situation reflects a commitment to protecting lives and minimizing the impact of such events on the populace.