How robust climate action can secure food supply

A flooded community in Benue…

All hands must be on deck at ensuring vibrant and impactful advocacy campaigns on matters of climate change, says AMUSA TEMITOPE VICTOR, an environmentalist. He argued that no one can evade climate change effects and its attendant threats, but the government needs to earn the trust of the populace by implementing good resettlement plans for residents in high-risk areas.

From press releases to paid public announcements, governments in flood-prone areas are actively taking the message of climate change and its threat across municipalities and suburbs most at risk of the impending dangers of flooding and other climate change threats.

As efficient as the campaigns are projected to be, and also as engaging as envisaged; even as these advocacies are often in local dialects to further ensure clarity, yet there seem not to be appreciable results as each time there is a disaster the casualty figures are still very much high.

People currently at low-risk areas quickly take the endangered population to their self-determined court and label them guilty as charged, as they are seen as negligent, stubborn or most time suicidal. Often its rather better to likewise consider the situation from the perspective of the residents of these high-risk areas like river banks and water basins before running into a charade of conclusion when climate change disasters come knocking.

Africa is indeed rising, gone are the eras of taking all disaster that come our way as an act of the supreme, the younger generation demands explanation at every occasion, there seem not to be an end to the Why’s and How’s, this indeed has challenged the older generation to seek more convincing information about the situation our world is currently in.

Climate change threats are very visible in today’s world, from developed nations to developing and under-developed ones, global warming occasioned by climate change is taking its toll across borders. African leaders, in response to the dangers posed by climate change on human very existence, are likewise sounding the alarm for proactive measures ahead of the doomsday.

A lot of governments across Africa, Nigeria, for example, have budgeted huge sums for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Renewable energy seems to be a new niche desired by all, every political representative at the legislative arm of government has on its schedule one solar power project or more. The amount budgeted for emergency relief agencies to rise to humanitarian services demand is very much assuring that indeed the government has reemphasized its preparedness to mitigate climate change, it is sad though how long it takes relief services to get to the people after disastrous experience of climate change threats, people get forcefully displaced from their homes and are made to live in camps designated as internally displaced people camps .For days displaced residents suffer inhumane situations especially in areas of water, hygiene, and sanitation.

The Makurdi submersion incident is very much a sad event, weeks after, displaced persons still struggle to get access to basic life necessities, a lot of which were considered to be catered for in the proposed budget for the year which before now has earned a lot of accolades from residents and observers as to the preparedness of the government at all levels to rise in proper disaster management.

Thank goodness for the gradual return of solidarity to human fold across the world, every region and population seem to care about what happens to individuals across demographic divides, perhaps it has come to everybody’s psyche that no one is actually immune to the devastating effects of climate change and so all humanity should rather lend a helping hand as no one knows who next shall be calling for help.

Climate opinion groups and civil liberty organizations took giant steps in deviant from the norm by calling for donations of cash, food, and medical supplies to further alleviate the sufferings of victims of the Makurdi flood disaster, the response of citizens was so appreciable and substantial as the materials collected was even conveyed free of charge to Makurdi the capital of Benue State Nigeria by a kind-hearted Nigerian who plies his trade on that route as a commercial driver.

The power of virtual connectivity and information was further made known as a lot of the donors were neither relatives of these concerned organizations nor indigenes of Benue state, yet gave supplies overwhelmingly. From trending hashtags on twitter #IStandWithMakurdi to innumerable shared posts on Facebook, citizens of Nigeria have awoken to what great advantage are embroidered in lending their respective voices to the campaign of climate adaptability and sustainability through the social media, the results are there for all to see.

In spite of this laudable humanitarian response from residents all over the country, the question of what really was the agency statutorily established to respond to such disasters as this, doing, comes to the mind of every concerned Nigerian? Timely response and proactiveness are key in matters of trauma management in situations of disaster.

Just recently more than ten communities in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River State a typical agrarian setting was flooded by heavy torrential rainfall, regrettably very much over 2000 farmland of food crops like cassava, plantain, yam, cocoa and others were reportedly destroyed leaving the farmers and indeed the community in a state of comatose as it dashes the hope of the making anything substantial, if any, from their labour.

Not only was their source of livelihood cut off, hundreds of residents of these communities have also become internally displaced as houses and properties worth millions of naira were washed away by the ravaging flood.

During the assessment of the affected areas by the leadership of the state emergency management agency, it was acknowledged what huge blow has been dealt with the socio-economic existence of residents of the affected communities. It was further estimated that over 1,000 residents now take shelter in neighboring communities; then came the promise from the government to address the plight of the displaced people.

As it is with flash floods, streams, which serve as the only source of drinking water for residents in rural areas were also polluted as sewage was washed into them.
The response time to environmental disasters and emergencies needs to be seriously worked upon, if the populace, especially those at high-risk area will ever get to take the government serious in its advocacies. There are too many heartbreaking examples of neglect and sanitation crises in internally displaced people camps spread across the country.

Just recently, there was a breakout of Cholera in IDP camps in Borno state owing to the poor state of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene models in use. With the huge amount budgeted indirectly for climate finance and emergency relief services, a lot can be achieved, if judiciously used.

The government must as a matter of respect for humanity build camps with adequate water, sanitation and hygiene facilities to cater for a controlled number of people across the states, the use of secondary schools and open fields as IDP camps is entirely unacceptable.

If the millions of naira spent on radio and print advocacies by the government will achieve the expected result, the government needs to earn the trust of the populace, the only way to which is to implement good resettlement plans for residents in high-risk areas and also ensure a swift response to the plight of the people. Waiting for weeks or even months without aid and relief services is far traumatizing than losing ones’ source of livelihood.

Also, recently in Kwara state, over 450 hectares of rice farmlands already scheduled for ceremonial harvest were also submerged by floods, the implications of which transcends beyond just the loss of the farmlands, it is also the loss of the investment of governments in inputs and supports. It is likewise the loss of the food production index projected for the year which has a big impact on the GDP of the country. After all no one is immune to the devastating effects of climate change and its heartbreaking threats, the residents of areas less prone to floods now have to battle a shortfall in food supply.

The food and agriculture organization of the United Nations during the climate change conference of 2016 projected that food demand across the globe will increase by 60per cent by 2050, It is therefore interesting to say that, secure food supply starts with robust climate action in mitigating and adapting climate change.

Imperatively, all hands must be on deck at ensuring vibrant and impactful advocacy campaigns on matters of climate change, and guarantee resourceful adaptability measures yield the expected results, the people need to trust its government and likewise, the government ought to be trustworthy, after all, no one can evade climate change effects and its attendant threats.

• Amusa is also a social entrepreneur and Chief Executive Officer, Vicfold Recyclers



No Comments yet

Related