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Floods are here

From the north of the country to the south, floods are already wreaking havoc. Things might get worse in the following weeks, FRANK IKPEFAN reports

Floods are here. Its negative impact is already being felt by Nigerians across various states. It has wreaked havoc in major cities in the country, sweeping away humans and destroying property worth millions of naira. Its devastating effect is not likely to stop, going by new predictions. For these states and others, there is no respite yet. If anything, it may get worse as there is likely to be more flooding in the weeks ahead.

So far, urban flooding from rainfall has been the one wreaking havoc in most states, pounding cities for several hours, in some cases, days. The danger of these states dealing with flooding may be compounded by next month as most of them will have to deal with river flooding, according to the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA).

NIHSA is the Federal Government’s agency that has the mandate of monitoring all the major rivers in Nigeria including the trans-boundary Rivers Niger and Benue, among other functions.

The 30 states still in danger of high flooding include: Lagos, Rivers, FCT, Sokoto, Anambra, Kano, Bayelsa, Borno, Jigawa and Edo. Others are: Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Zamfara, Kaduna, Kwara, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Plateau, Taraba, Yobe, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, Delta, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Abia, and Cross River.

The river flooding will also put about 74 local governments in danger. The LGAs are: Musawa and Baure in Katsina; Dandi, Kalgo, Koko/Besse and Suru, Kebbi; Borgu, Lapai, Mokwa, Shiroro and Wushishi, Niger; Sabon Birni, Tambuwal, Wurno and Yabo in Sokoto; Maru, Talata-Marafa and Zurmi in Zamfara; Kauru and Soba in Kaduna; Ekiti LGA in Kwara; and Guyuk and Lamurde in Adamawa.

Others are: Tafawa-Balewa in Bauchi; Balanga in Gombe; Jos East and Qua’an Pan in Plateau; Gassol and Wukari in Taraba; Gujba, Geidam, Jakusko and Machina in Yobe; Tarka in Benue, Bassa , Koton-Karfe and Olamaboro in Kogi and Awe LGA in Nasarawa state.

Also in danger of river flooding are: Ayamelum, Anambra East, Anambra West, Ughelli North, Oshimili South, Oshimili North and Aniocha South all in Anambra; Brass, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Nembe, Southern Ijaw and Ogbia, Bayelsa; Degema, Obio/Akpor, Ogba/Egbaema and Ndoni in Rivers; Igueben in Edo and Alimosho and Ibeju-Lekki in Lagos.

Other LGAs in danger of the likely river flooding include: Abeokuta North and Ogun Waterside in Ogun; Ila and Obokun in Osun; Iseyin and Saki West in Oyo; Abi, Calabar South, and Odukpani in Cross River; Kalaga-Balge and Monguno in Borno; Miga, Auyo and Birmiwa in Jigawa; Danbatta, Kakai and Tudun Wada in Kano.

According to the agency, the state governments of these states must begin to prepare for flood if the country must avoid a repeat of the 2012 disaster that led to much loss of life and property. In 2012, excess water from Lagdo dam in Cameroon led to loss of lives and millions of properties. The country may witness a repeat of such if urgent steps are not taken, NIHSA warned.

The Director-General of the agency, Mr. Clement Nze, an engineer, explained that by next month, excess water from eight nations which make up the Niger Basin will into Nigeria and it will hit the two major Rivers (Niger and Benue) in the country. The basin comprises eight African countries – Guinea, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Chad and Cameroon. This may lead to flooding in the 30 states identified so far because of lack of dam to receive the excess water coming to Nigeria from these countries. The Katsina Ala dam that was expected to receive such water remains unbuilt.

Engr. Nze explained that more states across the country would be affected by both river and urban flooding as floods from the upper reaches of the Niger Basin. Providing an update on the 2019 Annual Flood Outlook prediction during a press conference in Abuja, the DG said findings by the organisation also showed that there had been steady rise in water levels across the country. This, he said, may cause damages in various states.

The NIHSA DG said: “Daily records from the agency’s hydrological measuring stations across the country show steady rise in water levels.

“Particularly, the hydrological measuring station downstream the confluence in Lokoja, Kogi State, shows the likelihood of spread of damages that may arise from flooding incidents in 2019.

He said that signs that the country may have a repeat of 2012 flooding had already started manifesting with the early warning flood witnessed in fifteen states so far. He said this may increase as the country approaches the peak of raining season.

“This started manifesting very early as seen in no less than 15 states, namely Niger, Lagos, Edo, Imo, Abia, Jigawa, Adamawa, Delta, Rivers, Cross River, Oyo, Enugu, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Bauchi and the Federal Capital Territory.

“There is high probability that more states would still be affected by both river and urban flooding as flood from the upper reaches of the Niger Basin would be arriving Nigeria in a month time.

“The flood that will be coming from these countries are yet to arrive Nigeria. That is when we will experience river flooding, like what happened in 2012 and 2018. We pray that let there be no release of water from Cameroon this year,” he said.

The NIHSA boss further stated that the localised urban flooding incidents being witnessed in some cities and communities were expected to continue due to high rainfall intensity of long duration, rainstorms, blockage of drainage system and poor urban planning.

Nze said that the warning became necessary as it served to alert Nigerians that the country would soon experience the peak of flooding season for the year 2019.

He said river and coastal flooding are expected to come into place as the nation approaches the peak of raining season.

According to him, some of the flooding witnessed in some major cities and communities are expected to continue.

“The localised urban flooding incidents being witnessed in some cities and communities in the country are expected to continue. The flooding incidents are due to high rainfall intensity of long duration, rainstorms, blockage of drainage system and poor urban planning resulting in erection of structures within the floodplains and waterways.

“River flooding, as well as coastal flooding, is expected to come into place as the nation approaches the peak of raining season,” Nze added.

The DG added that 36 states including the FCT would witness different levels of flooding this year.

“This means that the relevant stakeholders, especially the individuals and state governments have failed to heed the flood predictions for 2019.

“Thereby resulting in avoidable flooding incidents leading to loss of lives and property, disruption of economic activities and loss of several hectares of agricultural lands,” he said.

He, therefore, urged states and local governments to remove structures built within floodplains, clear blocked drainages, culverts and other waterways.

He said NIHSA had been closely monitoring the many flooding incidents taking place across the country with attendant loss of lives and property.

Nze noted that it was very unfortunate that the flooding incidents were manifesting just as predicted by NIHSA in its 2019 Annual Flood Outlook, which was made public on April 30.

This, he said, meant that the relevant stakeholders, especially individuals and state governments, had failed to heed the warnings issued before the onset of flooding season across the country.

To underscore the looming danger, the National Emergency Management Agency. State Emergency Management Agencies, as well as other relevant stakeholders in the sector met last week following the recent devastation caused by floods in various locations across the country.

A government official said NEMA had to convene the national meeting, inviting officials from all SEMAs to the meeting in order to avert a repeat of the kind of destruction caused by floods in 2012. The official stated that the organisation had been briefed that the country would witness more floods in in coming days.

The Director-General of NEMA, Mustapha Maihaja, said the national workshop on flood risk mitigation, preparedness and response was convened to provide the needed platform for principal actors in disaster management to collectively review the 2018 flood management operations, re-strategise to tackle any impending flood situation in 2019 as regards Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) and Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) for 2019.

“As part of our collective responsibility in serving the people, ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), we need to always come together with the view to directing plan of actions towards safeguarding and protecting our citizens, infrastructure, and other elements that are vulnerable to climate and weather extremes in the environment.

“The impact of hydrological hazards on lives, properties and environment depends on the level of preparedness which to a large extent relies on efficient early warning systems which in turn drives all processes that constitute our early action mechanisms,” the NEMA DG said.

He said the agency analyses the SRP and AFO yearly to determine their disaster implications.

Culled from :Here

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