21 LGAs in 10 states, Federal Capital Territory submerged in flood — FG

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The Federal Government said yesterday no fewer than 21 local government areas in 10 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, have been submerged by flood as a result of torrential rainfall in the past few days.

The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Engr Joseph Utserv, who disclosed this, along the Minister of State for Water Resource and Sanitation, Bello Goronyo, and the Director General, Nigeria Hydrological Services, NIHSA, at a briefing in Abuja, said some states had started experiencing varying levels of flooding and its associated disasters as early as April in 2024.

He noted that most of the flood incidents recorded so far were flash/urban floods resulting from high rainfall intensities of long duration and poor and blocked drainage systems.

Recall that the minister had in April 2024, presented the 2024 Annual Flood Outlook, AFO, by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, NIHSA, which showed that 148 LGAs in 31 states fall within the high flood risk, while 249 LGA fell within the moderate flood risk areas, with the remaining 377 LGAs falling within the low flood risk areas.

High-flood risk states

The high flood risk states as predicted, include Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross-River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara and FCT.

The minister said: “It should be noted that some states have started experiencing varying levels of flooding and its associated disasters as early as April this year. So far, more than 10 states of the federation and the FCT have experienced one degree of flooding or the other, with several casualties recorded, including displacement of people and loss of property.

“For example, the torrential downpour in the early hours of June 24, 2024, in the FCT resulted in flooding of Trade More Estate in Lugbe where two deaths were reported and several houses submerged.
“AMAC, Kuje, Gwagwalada, Bwari, Kwali LGAs have also been flooded. Other affected states and LGAs are Anambra (Onitsha North); Edo (Benin); Benue (Makurdi); Kwara (Oke-Ero, Moro); Lagos (Agege, Alimosho, Ikorodu, Lagos Island, Ikeja, Eti-Osa), Ogun (Ijebu-Ode); Osun (Oriade); Nasarawa (Doma); and Taraba (Takum, Sardauna), Yobe.

“It is important to note that as rainfall increases, both in frequency and intensity, particularly in the southern part of the country, this will increase the level of flooding and may worsen the ravaging cholera outbreak.

“According to the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, the cholera outbreak has resulted in 63 deaths and 2,102 suspected cases as of Wednesday, July 3, 2024.

“Let me add here that most of the flood incidents recorded so far were flash/urban floods resulting from high rainfall intensities of long duration and poor and blocked drainage systems in the urban areas and their metropolis.

‘River flooding begins this month’

The minister, however, stated that 2024 river flooding will commence July, adding that 19 states, including Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Adamawa, Benue, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Jigawa, Kogi, Kebbi, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa, Ondo, Ogun, Rivers, Taraba and the FCT, will be affected.

“At this point, it is important to state that river flooding is expected beginning from this month (July 2024). The states that are likely to be impacted within this as predicted are Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Adamawa, Benue, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Jigawa, Kogi, Kebbi, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa, Ondo, Ogun, Rivers, Taraba and the FCT.

“Internationally, Nigeria is located within the River Niger Basin, which is occupied by nine member countries, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Chad, Cote D’ Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.

‘’The country is at the lowest portion of the basin. This means that once the upper catchment of the Basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding incidents.

“It is important to note that the month of June 2024 signifies the beginning of the hydrological year 2024/2025 in the Niger Basin. The flow situation within the catchment is currently within normal as the rising water levels at our various monitoring stations in Niamey are still within acceptable levels.

“The flow situation at Jiderebode in Kebbi State upstream of Kainji and Jebba reservoirs, which is the first monitoring station on the River Niger in Nigeria, is still at normal situation; same applies to the flow in Lokoja, Kogi State (the confluence of Rivers Niger and Benue),” he said.

The minister, who also noted that government was alert and monitoring the situation at Lagdo Dam in Cameroon, said: “We are also monitoring the development on the River Benue Sub-Basin. Here, Wuroboki in Adamawa State is our first monitoring station where the flow from the upstream Cameroun is received.

‘’The flow situation at Wuroboki is relatively normal at this time, so there is no cause for alarm in terms of water releases on the Benue River basin.

“The Lagdo Dam operators have informed us that they are currently filling the dam for hydropower generation. However, we will keep monitoring the development on this flank and put a close tab on other monitoring stations as we are approaching the critical months.”

However, he called on states and local governments to mitigate the impact of the coming flood.
“The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, NIHSA’s 2024 AFO prediction has been following the predicted pattern. Therefore, to be forewarned is to be forearmed and prevention, they say, is better than cure. We call on all to heed the advice given in our prediction and stay safe.

“It is in the light of the above that the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation wishes to urge states and the general public to take necessary measures to prevent the ugly flooding menace of the past years.

“Recommended measures include but are not limited to educating citizens to imbibe attitudinal change towards warnings for flood prevention by government agencies and desist from unethical traditional culture and beliefs.

“Clearing of blocked drainage systems and canals: This exercise is to be undertaken down to grassroots levels, including local government areas; relocation of people living along water-ways and those that are having socio-economic activities on the flood plains by the federal, state and local governments; consideration for channelization/training of major rivers in the country; states and local governments are encouraged to desilt river channels and canals and to construct/create buffer (or detention basins) in their respective constituencies to collect runoff waters.

“Modification of settlements to withstand floods by putting up flood barriers; effective and efficient operational procedure for dams and reservoirs and maintenance of other hydraulic and water infrastructure across the country; construction of dykes, flood-walls, buffer dams detention basins and water retaining structures,” he said.

Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has identified 11 local government areas in Anambra State to be at risk of flooding this year and called for collaborative efforts to mitigate the negative impacts of the floods during the 2024 rainy season.

The Director General NEMA, Mrs Zubaida Umar, listed the identified local government areas as Anambra East, Anambra West, Nnewi North, Ayamelum, Ekwusigo, Idemili South and Idemili North.

Others are Ihiala, Ogbaru, Onitsha North and Onitsha South, which she said were under high and moderate risk of flooding, based on the seasonal climatic prediction and annual flood outlook released by relevant agencies for the year.

Addressing a workshop on the 2024 downscaling of flood early warning strategies actions in Awka, Anambra State, the NEMA D-G said the prediction has provided an opportunity for stakeholders to prepare and take necessary actions ahead of the disaster to save lives and property.

She said: “I want to call on the State Government, Local Government Councils, our revered traditional rulers, the clergy, opinion leaders, women and youth groups and the media in Anambra State to support proactive measures that will avert the negative impacts of the floods during the 2024 rainy season. “

While commending the Anambra State government for measures put in place to reduce the occurrence of avoidable losses, she said “Management of disaster risk in contemporary times is hinged on community participation, leaving no one behind. We must work together to safeguard and support uninterrupted socio-economic activities in Anambra State. “

In his remarks, the governor of Anambra State, Professor Charles Soludo, appreciated NEMA for the downscaling initiative.

The governor, represented by his deputy, Dr Gilbert Onyekachi Ibezim, said the construction of more dams along major rivers would reduce the occurrence of floods in communities along the river banks.

The Director of Disaster Risk Reduction NEMA, Dr Daniel Obot, made a presentation on flood prediction and disaster risk reduction strategies.

Vanguard

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