Floods May Displace Millions of Nigerians Soon – Agency


Several states of Nigeria will be hit by floods from eight nations, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency has said.

The agency said on Wednesday that more states across the country would be affected next month by both river and urban flooding as floods from the upper reaches of the Niger Basin.

The basin comprises eight African countries – Guinea, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Chad and Cameroon.

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.

Providing an update on the 2019 Annual Flood Outlook prediction during a press conference in Abuja, the Director-General, NIHSA, Mr Clement Nze, 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.

Nze 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 added, “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 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.

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

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.

Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency, state emergency management agencies, as well as other stakeholders in the sector are scheduled to meet in Abuja on Thursday (today) following the recent devastation caused by floods in various locations across the country.

It was gathered that NEMA had to convene the national meeting, inviting officials from all SEMAs to meet in order to avert a repeat of the kind of destruction caused by floods in 2012.

NEMA officials who spoke with our correspondent at the headquarters of the agency in Abuja on Wednesday stated that the organisation had been briefed that the country would witness more floods in in coming days.

The Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency on Wednesday declared that floods from eight countries would hit Nigeria in September and called for adequate preparation against another round of disaster.

Responding to an enquiry on what NEMA was doing to forestall severe devastation in Nigeria, officials at the agency stated that a national workshop on flood risk mitigation, preparedness and response would hold today.

“That question will be answered fully at the workshop,” an official who pleaded not to have his name in print said.

The source added, “The workshop is basically organised by NEMA for stakeholders in order to see how the floods in various parts of the country can be managed. The reason is to avoid a repeat of the type of disaster we saw in 2012.

“It is also based on the findings from NIHSA and other related agencies that NEMA is holding a workshop on this issue. The theme is all about preparedness and when the agency talks about stakeholders, it means it is going to invite all the state emergency management agencies.

“They (SEMAs) are all meant to be at the workshop considering the level of destruction so far recorded by floods in many parts of Nigeria. This is despite the fact that we have not even entered the peak of the rainy season.”

The official stated that the meeting would also serve as a form of awareness on the menace caused by floods and how Nigerians should manage it. (PUNCH)

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