2022 raining season: Flood ravages Nigeria

*Expect more disaster – NIHSA

*300 Nigerians killed so far – NEMA

Augustine Aminu, Fatima Saka, Yemi Olakitan, Hauwa Ali and Nneka Nwogwugwu

Nigeria is again experiencing one of its biggest flood disasters in years, with hundreds of communities and thousands of persons being displaced across the country.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said more than 300 people have so far been killed in flood disasters across Nigeria in 2022.

The Director General of NEMA, Mustapha Ahmed, disclosed this at a strategic workshop with stakeholders on disaster risk reduction and management held in Abuja.

He said over 50 flood disaster alerts were received by the agency on a daily basis, with more than 100 communities affected.

However, the Director-General, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Clement Nze cautioned that Nigerians should expect more impending flood disasters in the near future as above-normal rainfalls and lack of adherence to warnings persist.

According to him, flood related disasters would only be minimised by strict adherence to warnings from relevant authorities and extra preparedness by states could also avert most of the looming disasters. 

During the 5th Nigerian Institution of Water Engineers International (NIWE) Water Conference recently in Abuja, some Engineers have called on the Federal Government to step up efforts in the funding and application of data and technology in the monitoring  of dams, other water projects and management across the country.

Engineer Meshak Alfa, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Jos, said that some rivers needed modification to reduce the extent of flooding via their channels.

According to him, some rivers accumulate sediments and also vegetation along the river coast that stand in the way of the flow of water.

“So if those vegetation are removed from the water coast it will reduce the extent of flooding in the country”, he said.

KANO STATE: The Executive Secretary Kano State Emergency Management Agency,  Saleh Jili said three people were killed , while  250 houses were destroyed, while many people were also injured in the recent flood and windstorm  that ravaged five Local Councils in Kano State.

He calls on residents, especially those on the flood prone areas to give way for water by clearing drainage systems in front of their houses to prevent flooding and other environmental hazards.

He said his office is working with all stakeholders, including National Emergency management agency (NEMA), state disaster management committee, public education and enlightenment campaigns to mount a campaign against building in flood prone areas.

Kano State Commissioner for Information, Muhammad Garba also said the state government has constituted a technical committee to expeditiously look into the prevailing flooding occasioned by the intermittent downpours recorded in the state.

He said the committee is saddled with the task of studying the metropolitan roads, drainage systems and culverts that were dilapidated, with a view to rehabilitating them, or reconstructing new ones where possible.

JIGAWA STATE: The Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Sani Yusuf, Fifty people have died and thousands of homes destroyed.

He stated that the situation has forced Jigawa residents to take refuge in other places, which include government buildings.

Sankara, Karnaya, Birnin Kudu and Gwaram communities in the Ringim, Dutse, Gwaram and Birnin Kudu Local Government Areas of the state were particularly affected.

In the Karnaya community, residents said over 500 structures, mostly mud houses, were washed away by the flood. One of the leaders of the community, Bala Adamu, told reporters that residents are now sheltering at filling stations and a school in the community.

BENUE STATE: The Executive Secretary, Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Dr Emmanuel Shior said floods have devastated more than 200 households in Makurdi.

Shoot made the declaration in Makurdi on Wednesday at the monthly distribution of relief materials to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

He listed affected parts of the Benue capital as Naka Road, Achusa Kucha Utebe, Gyado Villa, Judge’s Quarters Extension and parts of Nyiman among others.

Shior noted that flooding was not this terrible in the state in the past.

He assured that the state’s Committee on Floods had approved the expansion of selected camps in Makurdi, Guma and Logo to accommodate flood victims.

He added that recent attacks on some communities in the state had resulted in the displacement of more than 400,000 people.

He said the state government was catering to the victims and to refugees from Cameroon staying in the Kwande Local Government Area of the state.

He appealed to the Federal Government to assist as the burden was becoming cumbersome for the state government.

BORNO STATE: Torrential rainfall and excess water released  from Alau Dam have led to flooding in some parts  of Maiduguri metropolis and its environs.

The worst affected wards are Gwange, Maduganari, Gamboru, Shokwari and Moro-Moro.

Gov. Babagana Zulum who visited some of the afected areas condemned the habit of people building on waterways and along river banks.

He said that  his administration had on inception marked no less than 1,500 houses built on waterways for demolition but many misunderstood the measure as government being insensitive.

The governor promised to take temporary measures for now to contain the situation. He assured that permanent measures like the review of Maiduguri masterplan, desilting of the river and construction of dikes/embankment along the river.

EKITI STATE: Many residents of Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital were displaced as flood wrecked havoc in the city following a heavy downpour that lasted for over six hours on Sunday night.

The victims also lost valuable items in areas like Oshodi, Ilupeju Avenue, Ureje, Ita Eku, and  Temidire Eminrin, a suburb of Ado Ekiti, located along Federal Polytechnic Road.

The heavy downpour began at about 10pm on Sunday and subsided at about 3: 22am on Monday.

Temidire Emirin community was worst affected as flood waters from Ureje River swelled and overflew the bank, thereby preventing students, civil servants and artisans from going to schools and places of work.

The overflown  bridge only subsided around 12: 30pm to give way for residents to have access to the Ado-ABUAD-Ijan -Ekiti highway that leads to Ado-Ekiti metropolis.

A resident of Temidire Emirin community and victim of the flood, Mr Jude Ajulo, said they were inside sleeping when the water suddenly surged into their residence around 2:00am, and submerged their property.

Ajulo revealed that the occupants of the three-bedroom bungalow had to run out when the water level was rising and threatening their lives.

The General Manager, Ekiti State Emergency Management Agency, (SEMA),  Mr Olajide Borode, said the agency had started visiting the areas affected with intention to get first hand information on the extent of damage caused by flooding.

The SEMA boss said: “You all know that the government of Ekiti State is serious about disaster management policy.

He said, safety of lives and  property is a priority of the current government and we won’t joke with it.

According to him, officials are presently visiting the areas affected to get the correct information that can  guide the government’s action in resolving the incident.

NIGER STATE: The State Director General Niger State Emergency Management Agency, (NSEMA) said eight lives have been confirmed   lost to flooding in the state within one month.

He said besides the lives lost, several houses, farmlands, link roads, culverts among others were also washed away.

According to him, the disaster occurred in seven out of the twenty five local government areas of the state.  

The local governments affected are Rafi, Kontagora, Lavun, Wushishi, Mashegu, Magama and Gbako.

Niger State Emergency Management Agency, (NSEMA) which confirmed the development added that it has further intensified efforts to further sensitize the people living both upstream and downstream on the need to vacate their abode temporarily.

Inga said for the main time, they have directed the people of the state generally to clear all drainages and flush away stagnant water to avoid breeding mosquitoes, use treated mosquito nets to prevent malaria, ensure that they put off all electrical appliances when not in use and when leaving home and that they should stop storage of   petrol or any inflammable item at home or shops to avoid fire outbreak.

ADAMAWA STATE: The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has urged people residing in flood prone areas of Adamawa to relocate to safer places.

The Director of the Agency, Malam Mohammed Gabdo made the call in an interview recently in Yola.

He said credible information indicated that the management of Lagdo Dam in the Republic of Cameroon, would  release excess water from the dam on Thursday.

He said the call is to mitigate the effects of the disaster which had caused havoc in Numan and other parts of the state displacing thousands of people.

The director said the agency in collaboration with other stakeholders had sensitised residents in flood prone communities on the dangers of flooding, and the need for them to relocate to safer areas.

“We are appealing to people in flood prone settlements to relocate to safer places to save lives and property.

“We heard that water would soon be released from the Lagdo dam, and we want our people to be cautious to avoid being affected,” he said.

He also commended the Adamawa government for constituting Local Emergency Response Committees across the 21 local government areas of the state.

The committees, he said, would enhance timely and coordinated disaster management and response services in the state. 

LAGOS STATE:  In their forecast of the 2022 Annual Flood Outlook, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency identified Lagos as one of the states with a highly probable flood risk.

By putting more strain on the city’s sewer infrastructure and encouraging urban growth in regions with a high risk of flooding, Lagos’ growing population adds to flooding. Increased flooding is a result of rapid urbanisation, and inadequate drainage systems.

Lagos currently has a population of roughly 15.4 million people, with a projected increase to 20 million by 2030, according to the World Population Review.

In a recent incident, nine ladies who have not yet been identified were rescued on Monday after becoming trapped after a storey building sank on Akinwunmi Street in the Mende, Maryland region of Lagos State as a result of heavy rain. The National Emergency Management Agency’s Lagos territorial coordinator Ibrahim Farinloye acknowledged the new information in a statement.

He claimed that after receiving a distress call about the predicament, the organization’s officers were sent to rescue the victims.

“Many locations in Lagos State were flooded by the heavy rains, which lasted for about four hours in the early morning. After careful observation, the NEMA advance team suggested further personnel reinforcement. According to Farinloye, while speaking with one of the trapped victims named Blessing, she said that up to nine people—mostly women—were trapped within the structure when it began to sink.

“The building’s landlord had used a ladder to escape, but NEMA questioned him for failing to alert emergency personnel, but someone from one of the victim’s offices got in touch with NEMA,” he continued.

The organisations on the ground right now are the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, the Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service, and the Police Disaster Management Unit. All nine of the women who were trapped in the cave were successfully rescued and evacuated. 

Furthermore, a number of residences and streets in various areas of the Alimosho Local Government Area (LGA) were overwhelmed by flood waters as a result of the rain that poured in Lagos in the early hours of Monday, September 12, 2022. Some parts of Obadore and Igando are among the regions that have been impacted. 

A week ago, 14 local government areas (LGAs) in the state of Lagos received a flood warning from the Lagos State Hydrological Agency.

In the statement last week, the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) urged state and local governments to step up and increase their efforts to prevent flood-related calamities in their areas. 

The organisation also reported that 14 LGAs in Lagos have already experienced flood disasters, resulting in numerous fatalities. This serves as another warning of impending floods since the country is currently experiencing its peak flooding season till early October.

Some residents of Lagos State have lamented the impact of recent concurrent rainfall which lasts for hours, and has affected several parts of the state.

The Frustrated residents made the outcry on social media and posted photos and videos showing roads overtaken by floods.

One of such posts was from Kate Henshaw, a popular Nigerian actress. She posted a video showing the state of the road covered with flood while driving through and commented on the video.

RIVERS STATE: Rivers State have not witnessed any serious case of flooding in the state. Minor flooding only occurs when there is a heavy downpour of rain where drainages will be blocked but it clears immediately after rain stops.

Peter Odili Road usually experiences this kind of flooding but it doesn’t last for long.

Speaking to a resident in anonymity on why the flooding this year is quite reduced, he said that road construction in the state helped and drainages too were constructed.

However, indigenes of some communities in Engenni Kingdom, Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State, had raised alarm in August over impending flooding in the area.

A resident of Joinkrama community, said fear has gripped the communities, especially as the area had suffered from previous flood disasters.

Akiagba said more than 21 communities would be affected if flood comes.

He also said people are preparing themselves by resorting to self-help as there was no help from any quarters.

NatureNews recalls that the last serious reported case of flooding that destroyed properties was in September 2021.

The rains which poured for hours from dawn on the day overwhelmed the Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the FRSC on Aba Road, while business on the expansive chain stores, SPARS, was disrupted as staff struggles to save wares from destruction as flood water from submerged Azikwe Road overwhelmed the mall’s ground floor.

TARABA STATE:  In Jalingo, no fewer than five people were confirmed dead and more than 50 persons declared missing following torrential rains and flooding in Lau, Karim-Lamido and Gassol Local Government Areas of Taraba.

In separate interviews, chairmen of these councils  also said that crops and livestock worth millions of naira had been washed away by the flood.

Alhaji Tukura Bashir, Chairman of Gassol local government area, noted that such a disaster had not been witnessed in the area in the past five decades.

Bashir said that villagers on the banks of the River Benue, the major cause of the devastation, had seen many corpses floating on the river.

Also, Chairmen of Lau, Mr Anthony Danburam and his Karim-Lamido counterpart, Mr Idi Mali, both confirmed that several people were also displaced.

According to them, the development raised fears of food shortages due to the loss of crops such as rice, maize and beans, among others to floods across Taraba in the past one month.

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