© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Alert: Nigeria to experience more flooding ─ NIHSA
THE Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has alerted Nigerians of more flooding, appealing the 36 states to prepare for the upcoming flooding as the Rivers Benue and Niger keeps rising.
Director-General Clement Nze who disclosed the situation at a briefing in Abuja on Wednesday said more flooding was expected to occur in the country due to continuous heavy rainfall, according to the Nation.
He projected a high probability of more states in the country experiencing a lot of both rivers and urban flooding in the coming months.
Nze added that the river flooding would start in the next month. This he said would be as a result of an increase in water from Rivers Niger and Benue, the two longest rivers in Nigeria.
Rainy season flooding has become a recurrent issue in Nigeria. In 2018, NIHSA was forced to declare flooding a natural disaster when it led to more than 100 people’s death.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 34 out of the 36 states in Nigeria witnessed severe flooding in 2018. It stated that the incident happened due to the overflowing of the two rivers into the surrounding communities.
Altogether, the agency approximated that floods affected 1.9 million residents, destroyed 82,000 houses, displaced 210,000 people, as well as destroying many crops and livestock.
With the continuous rainfall in 2019, going to its peak in August, Nigeria has since counting losses.
According to the daily situation update of the flooding by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), relying on media reports, as of August 6, Eight Nigerians have died.
It stated that seven people died with 20 houses damaged in Yola, Adamawa State. One person died in Abuja leaving several injured. ECHO even projected that the rain would continue till August 7, affecting central and eastern regions.
It should be noted that behind the numbers were people. Friday, August 2, was the fateful day FCT High Court Finance Director Tony Okecheme, died after being swept off by flood on the road in Galadimawa Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Four students of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) drowned and died on Tuesday when a pedestrian bridge collapsed in the school premises. It was reported that heavy downpour had caused flooding, resulting in the collapse.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in its National Contingency Plan, listed flooding among some of the trigger events that can lead to washed away roads and collapsed bridges.
Environmentalists had long called on the government to attend to the drainage system issue in Nigeria. Many areas where drainages are available are poorly maintained while lots of suburb communities lack drainages.
A story by The ICIR in May confirmed that most drainages in Abuja were clogged with a mass of wastes, causing water to find unplanned paths to pass.
“Once you block the natural path where water can pass, what it would result to is flooding,” said John Harry, National Secretary of the Nigerian Environmental Society.