THE Federal Government has asked states to evacuate residents in flood prone areas as the death toll from flooding across the country rises above 600.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, who gave an update on Sunday, warned of impending floods in the coming weeks.
Speaking at a news conference on Abuja on, the minister said state governments, local government areas and community leaders, especially in Anambra, Delta, Cross River, Rivers and Bayelsa states, should begin evacuation of persons living along water channels and other areas obstructing the flow of water.
Farouq noted that despite concerted efforts to avert the consequences of the 2022 flooding season as forecast by the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NiMet), many state governments did not prepare for the floods.
According to her, the failure of state governments to act promptly was why the toll of lives lost and property damaged has risen astronomically.
The minister said: “Unfortunately, over 603 lives have been lost as of today October 16, 2022. A total of 1,302,589 persons have been displaced, 2,504.095 persons have been affected on the whole, 2,407 persons have been injured, a total of 82,053 houses are completely damaged while 121,318 are partially damaged. 108,392 hectares of farmland were partially destroyed while 332,327 hectares were totally destroyed including many roads and other critical infrastructure.
“While we mourn the unfortunate boat mishap in Anambra State and other locations, please we must note that we are not completely out of the woods because the Metrological Agencies are warning that States like Anambra, Delta, Cross River, Rivers and Bayelsa are still at risk of experiencing floods up till the end of November.
“We are calling on the respective State Governments, Local Government Councils and Communities to prepare for more flooding by evacuating people living on flood plains to high grounds, provide tents and relief materials, fresh water as well as medical supplies for possible outbreak of water borne diseases.”
Meanwhile, a delegation set up by the Ministry is to visit state governors to advocate more commitment to strengthening states’ response mechanisms as stipulated in the National Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan.
The states are expected to work within their respective mandates to prevent deaths due to flooding or other health related diseases that may arise.
Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in the society. You can shoot him a scoop via firstname.lastname@example.org and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.