Flood alerts from the Republic of Niger on the rise in the water level of its river has shown that any time from now Nigeria may suffer severe floods that can comparable to what was experienced in many states in 2012, the National Emergency Management Agency has warned.
The 2012 floods in Nigeria began in early July. According to NEMA, the flood killed 363 people and displaced over 2.1 million others as of November 5, 2012. The agency also stated that 30 of Nigeria’s 36 states were affected by the floods.
It described the floods as the worst in 40 years, adding that it affected an estimated total of seven million people. The estimated damages and losses caused by the floods were put at N2.6tn.
To avert a reoccurrence, NEMA on Saturday advised communities along the River Niger to evacuate immediately to safer grounds over the likelihood of floods that may occur at any moment from now, as it noted that there had been intense rainfall as well as rises in water levels across the country.
The Director-General, NEMA, Mr. Sani Sidi, who gave the advice, said the agency had received alerts of the flood from information given by the authorities in the Republic of Niger that the present water level in the river had reached a point that may result in the flood that could be compared with the unfortunate experience of 2012.
He said, “Niger Basin Authority notified Nigeria that rainy season, which started in the Middle Niger (Burkina Faso and Niger Republic) in June, 2016, has led to a gradual rise of the level of River Niger in Niamey, Niger Republic. This high level of water in Niger Republic is already spreading to Benin Republic, and invariably, to Nigeria”
Sidi further said the level of water in all the hydrological monitoring stations across the country, as at Friday, August 5, 2016, had already exceeded the corresponding values at that time, which was an alarming situation that requires the prompt and coordinated action of all governments and stakeholders.
“If the heavy rainfall continues in intensity and duration within these regions of the River Niger, it is imminent that flood situation similar to that of the year 2012 may occur,” he said.
The NEMA boss called on stakeholders to take necessary actions in line with their various mandates, adding that states and local governments were to ensure observance with the threat in order to avert imminent loss of lives and properties that might certainly arise in the event of severe floods.
Sidi identified the states along the River Niger belts as being the most vulnerable as well as those along its major tributaries that includes Benue River belts, the confluence states and downstream to the Atlantic Coast.
The agency’s zonal and operation offices, he said, had been instructed to continue with advocacy visit to the state governments and also urged the state to utilise the flood vulnerability maps given to them earlier by NEMA to identify safer grounds for temporary shelters in time of evacuation as well as reviewing all their contingency plans.