From Emmanuel Iyoho
The Federal Government has warned state governments, local government areas and community leaders of the impending floods in the coming weeks and has called on state governments to begin evacuation of persons living along water channels and other areas obstructing the flow of water.
The minister of humanitarian affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, disclosed thisat a media briefing in Abuja, recently.
While enumerating government’s efforts in mitigating the disaster in the country, which she described as overwhelming, the minister said the states included Anambra, Delta, Cross River, Rivers and Bayelsa States.
Farouq said despite concerted efforts to avert the consequences of the 2022 flooding season as forecast by the Nigerian Metrological Agency, many state governments did not prepare for the floods. She said that as a result, the toll of lives lost and property damaged has risen astronomically.
“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. In addition, 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 high powered 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 stakeholders are expected to work within their respective mandates to prevent deaths due to flooding or other health related diseases that may arise.
The permanent secretary in the Ministry, Dr Nasir Sani Gwarzo, mni., NPOM, is to lead a delegation to Cameroon next month, to discuss the periodic opening of the Lagdo Dam with the authorities.
The National Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan would soon be implemented for better coordination of flood response protocol, as well as a sectoral approach to flood management at the National and Sub-National levels.
Almost all the 36 states and the FCT have received food and non food items to mitigate various forms of disaster.
The director general of the National Emergency Management Agency, Alhaji Mustapha Habib Ahmed, madethis known at the briefing.
Ahmed said, “Information stating that the federal government’s presence is not in the states affected by flood is false. We are in every state of the federation. Relief has gone to every state of the federation and we thank the Commander in Chief and President Muhammadu Buhari and the Honorable Minister. We will continue to do our best to provide for the country .”
In the meantime, Gov Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State has said that one-third of the state (Anambra) has been submerged by flood, turning the already “bad situation” of the state as the “erosion capital of Nigeria” to “worse”.
“The fundamental thing for us is not so much the ravage of this flood, it has made a bad situation worse for us in Anambra. The environment is Anambra’s number one existing threat. Anambra is the gully erosion capital of Nigeria with about 30 percent of our lands under threat by gully erosion,”he said.
The governor, who stated this while appearing on a television programme on Tuesday said his government has been “cleaning up drainages just to let water get to the river but now water from the rivers now overwhelm one-third of the state, even a little more than one-third of the state”.
Soludo said Nigeria must have a national emergency conversation about flooding to avert recurrence.
“What is the nation doing to prepare for the next one because we know that it will happen again and again? It has been happening, and Cameroon will soon open the dam in the next one or two years. What is the national plan to deal with the next one? Whether we are going to build dams or embankments along the banks of the rivers. I think as a nation, we need a national emergency conversation,” he stated.
Our correspondent reports that floods have hit parts of Nigeria in the last two months with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) saying that about 2.5 million persons were affected and over 603 persons killed by the flooding caused by torrential rainfall of late.
Houses and farmlands have been submerged in Lagos, Yobe, Borno, Taraba, Adamawa, Edo, Delta, Kogi, Niger, Plateau, Benue, Ebonyi, Anambra, Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto, Imo, Abia States, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).