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Reducing sufferings of flood victims in Nigeria



FLOODING has been a thing of concern to Nigerians and governments, particularly during rainy seasons, as some of the urban cities are taken by flood every year. Most times, houses, buildings are submerged, people’s properties are destroyed.

  IT IS very disheartening that this year’s flood has been claiming lives and wreaking havocs on property all over the country,  notwithstanding warnings by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ministry of Water Resources and even some international agencies like Save the Children International (SCI).

  THE SCI revealed that more than 75,000 children have died so far, owing to flooding in Nigeria and Niger Republic, while the Presidency had, in August, said that more than 500, 000 people  had been affected by heavy floods and 277 injured across the country.

  THE Presidency, in a statement, restated the seriousness of the unfavourable rainfall pattern this year and the dangers Nigerians face.

  NEMA had also in August, warned that 32 states and 233 LGAs were prone to flooding in the coming months. Director-General of the agency, Mr. Mustapha Ahmed, who spoke at a National Consultative Workshop on 2022 ‘Flood Preparedness, Mitigation and Response’ in Abuja, said advisory letters and maps showing predicted flood risk areas in various states had been sent to respective states.

  “WE HAVE also produced risk maps for vulnerable local government areas as forecasted by NIHSA’s Annual Flood Outlook,” Ahmed said, adding that state emergency management agencies, as well as local emergency management committees must be proactive. According to him, NEMA received over 50 flood disaster alerts daily, with more 100 communities affected.

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  THE NEMA DG said if states had taken the reports sent to them seriously, there would have been improvements. “Maybe, they’re not taking the reports we are sending to them very seriously. Immediately NiMet releases a report, we send the risk mapping to states, identifying risk areas that will be hit by disaster. So, these states have all the information. With all this information, we believe states are to develop mitigation strategy”.

  THE Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, had also warned that the flood outlook for September, October and November calls for concern.

  ADAMU said: “The general outlook of 2022 Annual Flood Outlook, AFO, shows that 233 local government areas in 32 states of the federation and FCT fall within the highly probable flood risk areas, while 212 local government areas in 35 states of the federation, including FCT fall within the moderately probable flood risk areas.

  “THE remaining 392 local government areas fall within the probable flood risk areas. The highly probable flood risk states include; Adamawa, Abia, AkwaIbom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Delta and Ebonyi.

  OTHERS are; Ekiti, Edo, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara and FCT.”

   HOWEVER, the minister said eight states will battle with tidal surges and a rise in sea level in 2022 based on the AFO, listing them to include Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Lagos, Ogun and Ondo.

  HE ALSO  said that  flash and urban flooding will be experienced in parts of major cities including; Lagos, Kaduna, Suleja, Gombe, Yola, Markurdi, Abuja, Lafia, Asaba, Port Harcourt, Yenagoa, Ibadan Abeokuta, Benin City and Birnin Kebbi.

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  OTHERS include Sokoto, Lokoja, Maiduguri, Kano, Oshogbo, Ado Ekiti, Abakaliki, Awka, Nsukka, Calabar and Owerri.

   THOUGH lives and property worth millions had been lost to ravaging floods in some states before the warning, the pre-incident enlightenment had done little in mitigating the level of devastation. For example, over 300 buildings, including churches, schools and health facilities have been submerged by flood in Ogwuikpele, Ogbaru LGA of Anambra State, forcing farmers in the area to harvest their crops prematurely.

  ALSO in Plateau State, not less than seven people have been confirmed dead and hundreds displaced by flood that ravaged several  communities. The torrential rain, which fell from August 22 to 24, 2022, washed away four people and injured others, including, a pregnant woman at the Nyelleng and Gwabi communities of the Pankshin Local Government Area  of Plateau State. Affected communities were flooded and the only bridge linking the area to other communities was submerged.

  IT IS expected that both states and federal government should not be waiting for the incidence of flood disasters in communities before fire brigade approach in the provision of basic facilities and amenities, including facilities for displaced persons. Since a permanent solution to flood disasters is still farfetched, there should be permanent places upland in states, local governments and communities equipped with basic facilities in readiness for affected areas yearly.

  SINCE the welfare of the people is the primary responsibility of government, authourities at all levels saddled with the responsibility, should be proactive in taking measures aimed at mitigating the impending problems yearly. There should be substantial budgetary allocations to address challenges that come with flood menace , even as barricades should be constructed in communities within the  riverine areas so that rainy seasons should cease to constitute nightmares.

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  APART from upgrading the basic facilities at IDP camps for flood victims, there is need to beef up security at the camps. This will encourage affected persons to immediately move to the camps every season, thereby, preventing avoidable disasters, particularly loss of lives to flooding because of the victims’ unwillingness to leave their homes to safer places.

  ALTERNATIVE educational facilities should be made available at the camps so that affected children will not lag behind others in their various academic categories after the floods, even as efforts to resettle the victims should equally  be intensified.

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