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NIHSA alerts Nigerians over looming flood in 36 States, FCT

By Idowu Isamotu, Abuja

The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) on Tuesday alerted Nigerians that there will be a serious flooding in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and all the 36 States in the country in 2019.

The Director-General of the agency, Engr Clement Nze, disclosed this to journalists in Abuja during the unveiling of the overview of the 2019 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO).

The AFO, with the theme: ‘The Role of Efficient Hydrological Services in National Development’, had various stakeholders from National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), UNESCO, UNDP among others in attendance.

“36 states, including the FCT, are expected to experience different level of flooding.

“The three categories of vulnerability include the highly probable flood risk areas – to be experienced in 74 LGAs; probable flood risk areas – to be experienced in 279 LGAs, and low flood risk areas – to be experienced in 421 LGAs,” NIHSA DG said this while explaining some of the findings in the report.

He also told journalists that the agency was developing an app that would alert Nigerians of impending flood, adding that highly probable states to experience flooding include: Osun, Lagos, Benue, Oyo, Cross River, Sokoto, Plateau, Abia, Edo among others.

He said, “Flash and urban flooding are forecast to occur in Ibadan, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Sokoto, Kaduna, Yola, Maiduguri, Makurdi, Hadejia and other major cities due to poor drainage systems.”

The NIHSA DG, however, recommended that to mitigate the impact of flooding, the country should build flood-resilient communities.

He added that there was a need to close the knowledge gap around the issue of floods among the decision and policymakers and planners at the national and local levels.

Earlier, while delivering his keynote address, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, noted that this year’s flood outlook was the seventh in the series by NIHSA and the fourth under his stewardship.

He reiterated that the AFO commenced in 2013, a year after the very devastating and unprecedented flood of 2012 in Nigeria.

According to him, this year’s theme was built on the achievement of six previous forecasts by the agency, explaining that the outcome of these forecasts had been the progressive reduction in the incidences of flood damage, not necessarily as a result of reduced flooding, but a consequence of the timely heeding of the warnings contained therein by communities, agencies and government at various levels.

“Looking beyond the annual flood outlook being presented today, it is envisioned that with adequate funding and establishment of more hydrological monitoring stations on our rivers and streams, we will be able to provide flood alarm systems at high risks and vulnerable areas associated with flood and other extreme climate situation.

“The 2019 AFO is an added impetus to the government’s change agenda to better the lives of Nigerians with early warning to people and communities located in flood plains and other vulnerable areas, and to put in place the necessary actions that will ameliorate the adverse effects of flood to lives and property,” he said.

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