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Lagdo Dam Opening Might be Earlier Than Expected: NEMA

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The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, said yesterday Lagdo Dam might commence full discharge of excess water should the region in Cameroon experience heavy and persistent rainfall.

The Director-General, NEMA, Mustapha Habib Ahmed, who stated this during the emergency coordination forum of disaster management stakeholders in Abuja, also said states have begun preparation for release of water from the dam by clearing water channels.

He said: “This particular meeting has been necessitated by the notification received from the ministry of foreign affairs, of the modulated release of water from Lagdo Dam in Cameroon on the Benue River.

”The country has commenced release of water from the dam at the rate of 200 cubic meters per second, which is about 18 million cubic meter of water per day.

“This release may result in all front line states experiencing flooding in subsequent days and weeks. It is of great importance to also note that the dam might commence full discharge of excess water in the event that the region experiences heavy amount of rainfall.”

The NEMA boss also noted that there was no standing budget for impact on the flooding from the Lagdo Dam, adding that there won’t be any standing budget until there was an assessment.

He explained further that the setting up of internally displaced persons, IDPs, camps in states that would be affected by flood was solely the responsibility of the state governors, adding that and that NEMA would only assist where necessary.

Ahmed said: “We don’t have any standing budget for this yet. The gate as we are all aware has been opened and closed also. So the extent of the damage will not immediately be known.

“It’s after the flood season that we can do assessment to assess what is damaged, to know what the budget will be. Without assessment, we can’t know what the budget will be like.

“Activating of IDP camps is for the states, we have advised them accordingly. As you are aware, we’ve met with the Nigerian Governors Forum, we also met them at the National Economic Council, NEC, we gave them all the advice that needs to be given. And most of the states have been very proactive, so we will probably see a major difference this time around.

“On their proactiveness, we’ve seen them clearing water channels, distilling the rivers, that’s the proactiveness we see.“

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