…WMO, NiMet, others predict high risk flooding in W/Africa, others in 2022
By Dwelleth Morountodun
The Director General (DG/CEO) of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Prof. Bako Mansur Matazu, has said Nigeria and several other African countries are unable to access the $100 billion Global Climate Change Fund because of the cumbersome complexities tied around the fund.
The NiMet boss, who was represented by the Director of Weather Forecast Services Engr. Mailadi Yusuf Abba Misau, dropped the disclosure while fielding questions from Journalists on Monday at the round up workshop on: Agro-Hydro-Climatic Characteristics of the Major Rainy Season in the Sudan and Shael Countries including Mauritania and Chad, in Abuja.
Reacting to the recent flood disaster in South Africa and the inability of African countries to access the fund, he explained that this is one of the issues that African countries raised during negotiations of the COPA parties on climate change debate that the developed nations pledged to help developing nations combat climate change disaster in the continent.
“Unfortunately, the process through which they should access these funding is so tedious and cumbersome that any of these countries have not been able to access any significant amount of fund.” He said.
However, corroborating, Matazu’s assertion, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Representative for North, Central and West Africa, Dr. Barnard Gomez, acknowledged in telephone chat, that the $100 billion COP financing mechanism to mitigate climate change disaster is though a pledge by developed to developing nations which is not easy to access.
The NiMet DG observed with curiosity that the interesting thing is that African countries didn’t cause climate change, adding that Europe and Americas are majorly responsible for the climate change.
On the regional rainfall and flood outlook in 2022, the Forum which comprised of WMO, NiMet, the African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD), the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) and weather experts from 16 countries from West Africa, comprising of Mauritania and Chad predicted high risk of flooding in the region in 2022 in its final communique made available to the media.
The communique acknowledged that the flooding may presage losses of crops, material goods and animal and human lives in exposed localities.
To mitigate any disaster, it recommended strengthening the communication in seasonal predictions and their updates in order to inform, sensitise communities on the risks through the support of the press and advocacy, monitor and strengthen the response capacities of agencies in charge of flood monitoring, disaster risk reduction and humanitarian aid among others.
In an earlier remark, the WMO boss, averred that the conference is taking place at this time in Nigeria when extreme weather events are becoming more common, frequent, severe and longer lasting within the region.
Gomez, said: “This is even more precarious for West Africa and particularly, the Sahel, where rainfed agriculture is the mainstay of most countries.
“The WMO State of the Climate in Africa 2020, IPCC reports, and the WMO Atlas on Mortality reveal a grim future for Africa with regards to Climate Change. The warming trend in Africa for 1991-2020 was higher than for the 1961-1990 period in all subregions and significantly higher than the trend for 1931-1960.
“The frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events are projected to increase almost everywhere in Africa with additional global warming.
“Floods, especially flash floods in urban areas, and storms contributed the most to internal disaster-related displacement, followed by droughts in 2020.
“Food insecurity increases by 5-20 percentage points with each flood or drought in sub-Saharan Africa.”
As we approach 25 years of RCOFs in West Africa and the Sahel, it is time we take stock of our products and services, in order to be better guided to take the right steps to continue to ensure relevance, quality services and leadership in the area of climate services, he said.
Gomez, said WMO, is currently implementing a reform whose basis Is to better serve societal needs, stressing that key issues in the reform Include the revised data policy, regional reform, the global basic observation networks and systematic observation financing facility, e-hydrology assembly, the approval of SDG 6 water-climate accelerator programme.
Speaking further, the NiMet boss, said: “I am very pleased to be with all of you once again, this time to participate in the last lap of your engagement which is to: present the seasonal forecast for the Sudano-Sahelian Zones of West Africa including Mauritania and Chad, as developed by representative members from all the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) within the West African and Sahelian Countries of Mauritania and Chad that are outside the West Africa region, discuss the implications of the forecast with stakeholders present, and finally close the 9-day long event.
“I am particularly happy with the methodology adopted during this workshop which began with a review of and capacity building on the forecasting process, forecast drivers and forecast tools which ensured that every participant was brought on to, relatively, the same level.
“I was also made to understand that three thematic groups were identified and focused upon: Agrometeorology, Climate Services and Hydrology and that each of the thematic groups produced the first country-level forecast, and then upgraded it to a regional forecast.”
According to him, the Forum is perhaps the best to further underline the importance of weather forecasting to regional integration and development, adding that weather forecasting is the prediction of the state of the atmosphere for a given location using the application of science and technology in terms of temperature, rain, cloudiness, wind speed, humidity, etc.
To be able to avoid or adapt to the effects of these parameters, Matazu, said society needs to be advised through forecasts that will alert and so make it prepared against any adverse effects that the parameters may generate.
He said: “Occurrences of erratic weather, which knows no geographical boundaries by the way, are beyond human control. It is possible, however, to adapt to or mitigate the effects of adverse weather if a forecast of the expected weather can be obtained in time.
“Weather forecasts are needed for all activities of human endeavor from simply knowing what to wear to go out, to planning for the day’s activities, to how the farmer and his local extension agent will plan their agricultural activities, to how the water resources managers will plan the operations of their water infrastructure (when to open/close their reservoir gates in case of surface water or what type of extraction to allow for underground water extraction), to how transportation managers (land, air and sea) will schedule their departures, to how health practitioners will issue advisories for certain infectious diseases that are dependent on heat, wind speed and rainfall. There is virtually no sector that is not impacted by weather conditions.
“Finally, let me call on all our stakeholders to endeavor to take this forecast down to the grassroots where it is needed most, especially for agricultural activities.”
Matazu, said it will be a huge waste of resources to dump it on shelves and not to downscale to the farmers and others that need the information. Our scientists have burned the candles to produce this advisory, it is left for the policy and decision makers to get it deployed. The various NHMSs will always be there to provide the needed technical support and expertise to downscale the product, he added
While also speaking, the DG, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Mustapha Habib Ahmed, represented by Fatimah Suleiman Kasim, Deputy Director, Planning Research and Forecasting, said climate change and variability poses a critical threat to global socio-economic development.
According to him, climate change affects food security and stability which also has impact on health and livelihood. These impacts could be both short term and long term, resulting from more frequent and more intense extreme weather events, as a consequence of global changes in temperature and precipitation pattern.
While acknowledging the cordial relationship that existed between NEMA and NiMet, he added: “Over the years, the National Emergency Management Agency has enjoyed a strong partnership with NiMet as one of the critical stakeholders in Disaster Management.
“The NiMet Seasonal Climate Prediction have been a veritable tool for NEMA in flood preparedness, mitigation and response.
“NEMA uses the SCP from NiMet to develop Early Warning Messages for the provision of timely and effective information to stakeholders and communities. The added information from this forum will likewise assist NEMA in ensuring all States and communities vulnerable to flood received the warning through community engagement, Television programs and information, Education and Communication materials among others.”