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Prepare for more flooding, FG warns states

The Federal Government has issued a stern warning to states and local government areas to brace for increased river flooding as the nation enters the peak of the rainy season.

This warning was delivered by Prof. Joseph Utsev, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, during a news conference on Thursday in Abuja.

Prof. Utsev emphasized the importance of taking precautionary measures to avert possible disasters, citing recent reports from the 2024 Annual Flood Outlook unveiled by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA).

He indicated that state governors have been alerted and provided with detailed forecasts and preventative measures specific to their regions.

Significant Flood Risks Identified

The 2024 Annual Flood Outlook has identified significant flood risks in 148 local government areas across 31 states, including Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, and Anambra.

The outlook, which is divided into three scenarios, indicates heightened flood risks from April to November, with the most severe flooding expected between July and September.

“Over ten states and the FCT have already experienced varying levels of flooding since April, resulting in casualties and property damage,” Prof. Utsev said.

“Notable incidents include the flooding in Trademore Estate, FCT, which led to two deaths and significant property loss.”

Preventive Measures Urged

The minister called for intensified flood prevention measures by states and local governments. These measures include clearing blocked drainage systems, relocating residents from flood-prone areas, and constructing flood barriers. He also highlighted the need for continuous monitoring and proactive measures due to expected river flooding from major rivers like Niger and Benue.

Public Health Concerns

Increased rainfall could exacerbate the ongoing cholera outbreak, which has caused 63 deaths and 2,102 suspected cases. To address this, a presidential committee has been constituted to tackle cholera and other waterborne diseases linked to flooding.

Government Actions and Recommendations

A realigned 2023 flood report has led to the formation of a new committee, chaired by Vice President Kashim Shettima, to address broader disaster management issues, including erosion and desertification. The committee’s report has been approved by the National Economic Council, with implementation strategies set to commence shortly.

Additional measures include the Clean Nigeria Use the Toilet campaign and the activation of national laboratories to enhance public health and sanitation.

Federal and Local Responsibilities

Mr. Clement Nze, Director General of NIHSA, reiterated the Federal Government’s advisory role, noting that enforcement and local action fall under state jurisdiction. The Federal Government will continue its efforts to construct buffer dams, alongside the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon, to mitigate flood risks.

High-Risk Areas

The NIHSA’s 2024 Annual Flood Outlook lists 148 LGAs across 31 states as high-risk areas for flooding. These states include:

  • Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi.
  • Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe.

As the rainy season reaches its peak, the Federal Government urges all affected regions to take immediate action to prevent disasters and safeguard lives and property.

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