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FEMA saves 3,715 lives, responds to 173 distress calls – Report

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The FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) saved a number of 3,715 lives in the 173 distress calls, it responded to between January to December, 2021.

In a comprehensive report of the agency’s activities in 2021, which the Director General of FEMA, Alhaji Abbas Idriss, presented to journalists at a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja, he said the distress calls were on increase year by year due to influx of people into the Federal Capital Territory as well as expanse in infrastructure across the territory.

He said, activities of rescue operation in time of disasters were better coordinated now with the existence FEMA which was established in 2013, noting that the agency was able to achieve tremendous results in 2021 as a result of the agency commitment to its mandate of coordination.

While briefing on the report, Idriss indentified major disasters in 2021 in the Federal Capital Territory to include flooding, market fires and building collapse.

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He said: The Federal Capital Territory (FCT), is a Cosmopolitan City exposed to rapid urbanization. Population growth and distribution especially increases population leading to vulnerability.

“The FCT in the past has experienced both natural and human induced disasters and was among the States that suffered the 2012 flooding which affected many states in the country.

“Until the establishment of Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Agency, (FEMA), in 2013, response to disasters in the FCT, was largely uncoordinated with functions divided among various Secretariats, Departments and Agencies, SDAs.

“Permit me to remind you about, The core mandate of FEMA which centers on the following areas, Disaster Management, Risk Reduction, Emergency Response Relief Services, Counseling and Rehabilitation of disaster affected persons, making it the lead coordinating Agency on emergency in the FCT.

“Between January and December 2021, FEMA responded to 173 distress calls. These calls covered response to flood disasters, fire incidents, collapsed buildings, drowning, gas explosion etc.

“A total number of 3715 lives were saved in various rescue operations within the period under review. 57 persons were however fatally injured during these disasters.”

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Speaking on breakdown of lives saved, he noted:
“2025 lives were saved from flooding in the FCT, with the highest figure of 802, coming from the Trademore Estate flood incident. 5 lives were lost to flooding at Trademore and Lugbe.

“The Agency recovered 26 vehicles during the rescue operations while,183 houses were submerged during the period under review.

“On fire incidents, FEMA rescued 1444 persons from various fire rescue operations. Of note is the Ebeano Super Market fire, where 74 persons were rescued, the Kugbo furniture market with 102 lives saved and 300 lives from the Gwarimpa old tipper garage fire. 25 lives were however fatally injured in other fire incidents.

“The Agency salvaged an estimated goods and properties worth over 1.264 billion naira from market fire outbreaks last year.

“Other rescue operations attended to in 2021 included incidents of collapsed buildings, where we were able to rescue 17 persons; we however lost 2 lives. Drowning incidents claimed one life while we rescued 7 persons from various rivers.

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“We recorded 2 incidents of gas explosion, thankfully no lives were lost. We also lost 7 lives to Military Air crash.

“A comparison of our activities in 2020, as against 2021 indicate an increase in the use of the 112 toll-free emergency number. In 2021 we received 173 distress calls as against 153 in 2020. This is due largely to the sustained media campaign embarked upon by the Agency.

“We believe in proactive measures to mitigate disasters; hence we undertook hazard mapping of the FCT, vulnerability assessment as well as deployment of technology in our operations. These greatly enhanced our performance in 2021.”

According to him, the agency has developed its social media handles with features that could be easily used by the residents as well as provision of 112 toll-free emergency number which operates round the clock.

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