Again, NIHSA cautions 12 states of impending flood disaster

The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) says that nine states on the River Niger trough and three others on River Benue trough may experience flooding this year, following persistent rainfall.

Some the states are: Niger, Anambra, Kwara, Kogi, Kebbi and Jigawa and Benue among others.

Besides the alert by relevant agencies, Nigerians are daily being inundated with news of effects of flooding, especially in Niger, where flood has led to loss of lives and destruction to farmlands, houses and other valuable property.

Hydrological experts have disclosed that the water level in some riverine state had risen to 10. 66 metres above the sea level.

Many victims in Kogi, the confluence state, are bemoaning over their plight consequent upon flood.

The development has therefore put governments in the affected states on their toes to mitigate the effects of overflow of water.

Alhaji Isiaka Alamin, the Permanent Secretary, Kwara Ministry of Environment, said several cases of flooding had been recorded in the state lately, especially in riverside areas.

He said incidence of flooding became pronounced between July and August in flood-prone areas such as communities on river banks and where canals and drains were blocked with refuse.

“We have received reports of flooding at Oloje area of Ilorin where houses were flooded after a downpour and some fences were pulled down.

“The flood has also affected some farmlands, washing away farm produce and living the farmers in financial debt,” he said.

According to him, flooding is also recorded in Lafia in Edu Local Government Area of the state as well as Patigi and communities close to the bank of the River Niger.

Alamin said that the ministry had tried to check flooding by evacuating refuse on the streets for a fee of between N500 and N1, 000, depending on the size of the refuse.

The Chairman, Committee on Environment in the state House of Assembly, Alhaji Ahmed lbn-Mohamned, said the state had not recorded any casualty as a result of flood since the commencement of 2018 raining season.

He said the state government was collaborating with all the 16 local government areas to reduce the flood disaster in flood-prone areas.

The chairman also said the two tiers of government in the state had embarked on distribution of drain bags in all parts of the state to allow free flow of water during a downpour.

The lawmaker further said rigorous sensitisation campaign was being carried out to promote proper sanitation practices in the state.

“The state government is currently evacuating residents in riverside areas to check loss of lives,” he said.

Ibn-Mohammed, however, warned residents of the state against dumping refuse in drainage and waterways, especially during rainfall.

In Cross River, massive flooding has destroyed more than 175 houses, rendering no less than 3000 people homelessr, according to Mr John Inaku, Director-General of SEMA.

Inaku told NAN in Calabar that the flood had seriously affected the victims most of whom he said, had relocated to upper lands for safety.

He said no life has been lost in the menace, adding that the flood started in the state in the month of July.

According to him, most of the victims are living along the water channels and others in swampy areas.

The director-general said that the agency had embarked on aggressive campaign to sensitise residents in the state on the need to stop dumping refuse on drainage and building along water channels.

He explained that the flood had affected residents in Boki, Ogoja, Yala, Calabar Municipality, Calabar South and other local government areas in the state.

“Cross River has always been affected by flood during the rainy season. Currently, we have over 175 houses that have been destroyed and as a result, over 3,000 persons have been displaced.

“This menace has greatly affected farming activities, especially in Boki, Yala and a few others areas.

“We are looking at NEMA and other corporate organizations to come in and assist the victims,’’ he said.

He listed the flooded areas in Calabar to include, Muritala Mohammed Highway, Ebito, Murray, Target and Nelson Mandela, Atu, Yellow Duke, Parliamentary, Efiote roundabout and Mayne Avenue streets.

He said that the Agency had appealed to the National Emergency Management Agency to assist the state with relief materials for the victims.

The Bayelsa Government says it is not relenting efforts in ensuring that the anticipated flooding does not have adverse consequences on the people of the state.

Mr Daniel Iworiso-Markson, Bayelsa Commissioner for Information gave the assurance on Thursday in Yenagoa.

He said that the state government had stepped up activities to mitigate anticipated flooding.

The commissioner said that the state government, against the backdrop and experiences in the 2012 flood, had set up a flood response team

According to him, the team comprising of relevant government agencies will go round the state to monitor flood-prone areas and respond swiftly to any emergency situation.

Iworiso-Markson said the government is partnering with relevant stakeholders and experts including the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to ensure that if flood occurs, it is put under control.

The commissioner assured that given the proactive steps so far taken by the government, there was no cause for alarm.

He also said that the state’s residents along the river banks were used to perennial rise in water levels which often floods farmlands.

The Commissioner said that the government had provided a call centre with dedicated telephone lines to enable residents in the state report cases of high-water level in their areas.

He said that the mobile numbers to contact were 08025814636, 08110413567 and 09037582261.

According to him, the proactive measures are geared toward preventing any re occurrence of the 2012 flood disaster in the state, even though floods are natural disasters and inevitable.

He said Dickson had mandated the Ministry of Information and that of Environment to carry out sensitization and monitoring efforts to safeguard residents and called on every one to play their own role.

However, NAN investigations revealed that most residents in the coastal communities prefer the flooding as their fishing vocations enjoy boom with enhanced fish catch during the flood incidents.

Mr James Agodi told NAN that despite the challenges associated with perennial floods, the people always prayed for the water levers to rise and overflow the banks with abundant fish.

“Those of us living near the river side actually enjoy abundant fish catch during flood seasons, when there is flood, there is no need to go far to get fish, the flood waters carry a lot of fish so anywhere you set nets there would be catch.

“Even those who are not doing fishing as their occupations return home at such times to do fishing, so to us the saying that there is opportunity in adversity holds true,” Agodi said. [NAN]

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