The Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency, Alhaji Muhammed Sani-Sidi, on Monday received relief items worth N104 million (52 million yen) from the government and people of Japan for victims of flooding in the three states of Benue, Kogi and Rivers.
The items included 50 water purifiers, 200 tents and 7,000 blankets, worth approximately 52 million yen (N104 million).
At the ceremony, which took place at the cargo terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Sani-Sidi disclosed that between June and October this year, Nigeria experienced unprecedented floods, which affected about 7.7 million people, displacing 2.1 million while 363 people lost their lives.
While expressing gratitude to the Japanese Government for the gesture, Sani-Sidi said the gift will go a long way in ameliorating the suffering of flood victims.
The items, he said, will be distributed transparently and that a staff of JICA will accompany NEMA officials during distribution.
Following this, he said the Federal Government made an international request for assistance and it was in response to that request that Japan, through JICA, then decided to provide emergency assistance from a humanitarian point of view for the victims as well as in the light of friendly relations between Japan and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Chief Representative of JICA (the Japanese Humanitarian Agency) in Nigeria, Tetsuo Seki, while handing over the items, commended NEMA for its work in managing the disaster and effective coordination of the response plan.
He said his country will always assist in providing both emergency relief and medium to long term reconstruction and rehabilitation process.
The JICA representative said his agency and NEMA had been working closely to provide needed training for Nigerians.
Seki added: “This collaboration has led to trainings of NEMA staff in Japan on: Capacity Development for Flood Risk Management with Integrated Flood Analysis System in July this year, and the Development of comprehensive assistance systems for victims in 2007. There is currently on-going discussion on capacity building of NEMA staff in the area of disaster preparedness.”
Also speaking, Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria, Ryuichi Shoji, lamented that the flood led to the death of 363 people.
Shoji also disclosed that his country was working on reconstruction from the devastating Great East Japan Earthquake of last year, which resulted in tremendous damage loss of several lives.
He said: “I hope that the relief supplies will reach the flood victims swiftly and will ease the pain of the victims suffering.
“We want to continuously work together with the Government of Nigeria and international actors for the early recovery and reconstruction of the affected states.”