Lives and property across the country, especially in coastal states, are under threat owing to ravaging floods that have left scores either dead or homeless and the failure of state governments to take preventive measures.
The severity of the floods is such that the gathering of clouds now signals danger and sends shivers down the spine of many.
The situation is made worse by poor preparedness on the part of citizens and concerned authorities despite warnings.
Already, no fewer than 18 states are badly hit by the yearly occurrence.
They are Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Benue, Adamawa, Jigawa, Taraba, Bauchi, Anambra, Ebonyi, Yobe, Edo, Delta, Kogi, Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti and Plateau.
With no fewer than 300 lives lost in the states in one year, there are fears that torrential rains predicted for September, October and November may leave more pains and sorrows in their wake.
Findings across flashpoints show that, apart from public enlightenment in some, concrete measures weren’t taken to either relocate those in lowland areas or address some urban factors found to be responsible for perennial flooding.
Several states were found to have particularly defaulted in ensuring that avoidable destructive floods do not happen.
It was observed that they failed to put in place structural control measures such as dams, canals, storm drains and other facilities to divert flood waters from highly probable risk zones in their localities.
This is 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 SCL revealed that more than 75,000 children have died so far owing to flooding in Nigeria and Niger Republic.
On its part, the Presidency had, in August, said more than 500, 000 had been affected by heavy floods and 277 injured across the country.
The Presidency, in a statement, however, restated the seriousness of the unfavourable rainfall pattern this year and the dangers Nigerians face.
NEMA had, 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.
In addition, he said 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.
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”, Ahmed stated.
“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 this 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 called 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, Akwa Ibom, 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.
Meanwhile, he said 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.
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 enlightenment has done little in mitigating the effects of flooding.
Currently, residents of identified states are at the mercy of deadly floods.
Not less than seven people have been confirmed dead and hundreds displaced by floods that ravaged some communities in Plateau State.
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, LGA, of Plateau State.
Affected communities were flooded and the only bridge linking the area to other communities was submerged.
Among those washed away were a couple identified as Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Goma as well as two other people.
The victims were residents who were returning from a neighbouring local market and were trying to wade through the flood but lost their lives in the process.
Similarly, two people died while others were hospitalized. Property worth millions of naira was destroyed due to flood at Rikkos, Gangare and other communities in Jos North LGA.
In Langtang South LGA, one person died as a result of the flood which also washed away crops.
In Mikang LGA, no life was lost but downpours destroyed some buildings, rendering the occupants homeless and washing away crops in some communities in Garkawa, Lalin, Tunkus among others.
This happened even as massive floods from the rain which fell from August 15- 28 wreaked havoc in Qua’an-Pan LGA, submerged communities and destroyed houses, roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
Bwall, Kwa, Doemak, Kwalla, Kwande, Namu and other communities were affected as bridges and farmlands were washed away.
However, the state government has ordered the immediate reconstruction of the collapsed bridges connecting Doemak and the one linking Doemak to Bwall.
Flooding occasioned by the downpour recorded in Kano State submerged roads, houses and marketplaces among others.
A major factor responsible for the floods in the state is poor drainage system and waste management.
The reoccurrence has continued to create fear among residents whenever it’s about to rain.
Kano State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, confirmed that 6,417 houses and properties worth N541.6 million were destroyed by flood/windstorms from April to date.
The Executive Secretary, Dr Saleh Jili, said the incidents were recorded in 10 LGAs.
Jili identified affected areas as Doguwa, Kibiya, Kiru, Rano, Danbatta, Tsanyawa, Gwale, Ajingi, Dawakin Kudu and Albasu.
According to him, “nine persons were killed, 6,417 houses destroyed, nine persons injured and property worth N541.6 million were destroyed due to flood and windstorm in the state.”
He further said the agency had deployed personnel to all the 10 affected places to conduct assessment exercises to enable it to develop comprehensive data and assist victims.
Meanwhile, major roads and roundabouts in the state are gradually becoming unmotorable due to a lack of drainages.
Chairman, Textile Market popularly known as Kantin Kwari, Sharu Sagiru, said the market lost over N4.5 billion to floods.
Sagiru said over 800 shops stocked with goods were also affected.
NIGER: Victims paid to leave flood-prone areas
Flooding in Niger State seems more devastating given the location of four hydroelectricity dams.
The dams sometimes open their facilities when they are filled up, leading to the submerging of buildings and the destruction of farmlands.
The state was worst hit two years ago when 20 of its 25 LGAs were submerged as a result of severe flooding.
This year, some lives have been confirmed lost as a result of flooding across Niger.
One of the deaths was recorded in Rafi while the other two were recorded in Kontagora LGA.
Besides the loss of lives, many houses, farmlands, and culverts, among others, have been washed away.
Chairman of Kontagora LGA, Alhaji Shehu Pawa, who confirmed the development, said two deaths were recorded in the area while 237 people were affected by the flood.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, who paid a sympathy visit to the people affected by the flood in Kontagora, donated 100 fabrics, and 500 bags of grains, comprising rice, maize and millet, as relief materials.
Bello directed that all structures built along waterways be demolished to forestall future occurrences.
“A lot of those affected were actually paid compensation to leave and they refused. We are now going to go ahead and pull down the houses along waterlines,” he stated.
The state Commissioner for Environment, Daniel Habila Galadima, said the required design for a lasting solution to flooding will be ready by the end of September.
No year passes without communities in Benue State recording floods that leave in their wake devastation.
As for communities in Makurdi, the state capital, the devastation has defied almost all measures put in place to check the yearly occurrence.
From communities on the fringes of River Benue to those around the outskirts, including some within the heart of the state capital, residents have had to contend with flood waters deep into every rainy season.
Places that have not been spared by the disaster include Wadata Rice Mill, Angwan Jukum, Achussa, Behind Police Zone 4, Ishaya Bakut Road, Idye, Living Faith Church neighbourhood on Naka Road and Wurukum among others.
Benue witnessed one such incident in 2012 when most parts of Makurdi and its environs went underwater, forcing affected residents to flee their homes.
Then came the 2017 disaster when heavy rains and the opening of the dam in neighbouring Cameroon left houses, cars and farms submerged or swept away with over 100,000 persons rendered homeless
This year is not an exception. Makurdi has already witnessed massive flooding though not comparable to the magnitude of the 2017 or 2019 disasters when several parts of the city went underwater, leaving hundreds of families displaced and devastated.
Governor Samuel Ortom recently called on the Federal Government to take steps to dredge River Benue to save the state from the perennial flood.
The governor, who made the call during one of his visits to some flooded communities in the state, said: “Dredging of River Benue remains the best option to curtail flooding in Benue State. If the river is dredged, the perennial challenge of flooding in the state will be tackled permanently.”
In Edo State, NEMA alerted residents of imminent flood and urged residents to clear drainages to reduce its impact, especially in flood-prone areas.
Head, NEMA Edo Operations Office, Mr. Dahiru Yusuf, made the call in Benin.
Yusuf said the message became necessary following the 2022 seasonal climate prediction that forecasted that there would be high rainfall across the country.
“Drainages, culverts and all waterways should be cleared for water to flow freely without affecting buildings and also reduced the impact of flood, especially in the urban centres,” he said
The NEMA official advised riverine communities to start moving to higher grounds when the volume of water increases because consistent rainfall would increase the water levels of different rivers across the state
“The 2022 seasonal climate prediction length of the growing season in Edo State is predicted to be above normal”, Yusuf stated.
“This prediction is already playing out in Edo State as reported by the representatives of the frontline local governments where there has been an increase in the volume of water leading to some communities being cut off”.
According to him, the increase in water levels would lead to flooding of houses, structures, and farmlands in communities situated along the river banks.
Yusuf said the predicted rainfall for Etsako East, Etsako Central and Esan South-East LGAs would be slightly high and likely to experience floods along the banks of the River Niger.
He, therefore, called on farmers in the areas to be guided by the predictions to avoid loss of lives, resources and livelihoods.
No fewer than 50 persons have lost their lives to rainstorms and windstorms in Jigawa State.
The development left thousands of houses destroyed and persons displaced.
According to the Executive Secretary of Jigawa State Emergency Management Agency, Yusuf Sani, the deaths were recorded since the beginning of the raining season to date. Sani said almost all the 27 LGAs were affected.
According to him, “rainstorm leading to mostly building collapse has claimed the lives of about 50 persons.”
The affected LGAs include Kafin Hausa; Malam Madori, Hadejia, Guri, Auyo, Birniwa, Jahun, Miga, Kiyawa, Birnin Kudu, Kaugama, Babura, Gwaram, Dutse and Kirikasamma LGAs.
The flood destroyed many houses, infrastructure, farmlands, livestock, and properties and displaced hundreds of households.
Nearly all the victims are farmers whose farmlands were also sacked.
About 2,051 people were displaced in Karnaya village in Dutse.
The death toll in Adamawa State where no fewer than 10 people were killed by flood in one LGA alone is also high.
According to the Executive Secretary of Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency, Dr. Suleiman Muhammad, 10 persons were killed and scores displaced in some parts of Girei LGA of the state by the flood.
Specifically, the incident happened in Jabbi Lamba town and environs.
It was learnt the incident happened after 15 hours of torrential rains across the state.
Communities in Taraba State are already at the mercy of a flood. Some are already overwhelmed by the rains that have swept away farmlands in the process.
For instance, Dampar, a riverine community in Ibi Local Government Area, witnessed devastating flooding that almost overran the entire community.
The flooding, triggered by torrential rainfall, lasted for three days and wreaked havoc as it destroyed valuables and properties of the locals.
Of the 20 LGAs in Bauchi State, only one was not affected by ravaging flood.
Houses and farmlands were washed away by the flood, which resulted in the displacement of many residents in 19 LGAs in the state.
At least, 10 persons have lost their lives while several hectares of farmlands and houses were washed away in some parts of the state.
Worst hit LGAs are Jama’are, Giade, Misau, Dambam, Zaki, Darazo, Kirfi, Itas-Gadau, Shira, Gamawa and Toro. Of the 19 affected areas, 12, according to the state government are badly affected.
Being a coastal state, Lagos battles with heavy floods annually, wreaking havoc.
Apart from its natural status of being flood-prone, the failure of authorities to prevent avoidable incidences is one of the reasons for urban flooding in Lagos.
Drainages, canals and other water channels in the city are either left unattended or blocked by illegal structures.
Also, local governments do not pay attention to environmental sanitation.
What is supposed to be weekly sanitation is neither observed by residents nor implemented by the authorities.
Yearly, Nigerians battle with the harsh effects of the menace owing to the failure of the state’s Ministry of Environment and other related agencies to do their jobs.
This year, residents have been battling urban floods that often submerge houses and destroy property worth millions.
Recently, nine persons were trapped when a building started sinking in the Mende area of Maryland in Lagos. Also, two persons were confirmed dead in the Alimosho LGA of the state.
Coordinator, Lagos State Territorial District, NEMA, Ibrahim Farinloye, said seven persons including three siblings and four adults died as a result of the flooding witnessed in the state.
For instance, a three-day rainfall between July 8 and 10 left the state heavily flooded and swept some residents to their death.
Worst affected areas include Agege, Lekki, Ajah, Victoria Island, Ifako, Oworo, Ogudu, Ayobo, Gbagada, Iyana-Ipaja and Ebutte Metta.
Ado-Ekiti is prone to flooding which has continued to ravage the state capital despite efforts by the state government and other relevant agencies to stop it.
In 2021, residents were dislodged as a result of torrential rainfall which destroyed goods worth millions of naira in Balemo and Tinuola areas of Afao Road.
Three days ago, residents of Oshodi, Ilupeju Avenue, Ureje, Ita Eku, and Temidire Eminrin, a suburb of Ado-Ekiti metropolis located along Federal Polytechnic Road, also lost valuable property to flood.
It was gathered that the flood resulted from a downpour which began around 10 pm on Sunday and went on until about 3: 22 am on Monday.
The worst hit were residents of Temidire Emirin community as running water from Ureje River swelled and overflowed the bank.
A resident of Temidire Emirin, Jude Ajulo, told Sunday Vanguard that they were sleeping when they suddenly found that their houses were submerged around 2 am.
Also speaking, a resident of Oshodi along Afao Road, Taiwo Osaleye, appealed to the government to dredge the Elemi River that crosses the section to resolve the flood crisis.
Ekiti State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, on its part, said it was prioritizing safety of lives and property of residents.
The SEMA boss, Olajide Borode, said: “You all know that the government of Ekiti State is serious about disaster management policy. Safety of lives and property is a priority of the current government and we won’t joke with it.
“Our officials are presently visiting the areas affected so that we can get the correct information that can guide the government’s action in resolving the incident.”
Borode added that SEMA had identified three councils that had been predicted to be affected by the imminent flooding, warning people in the downstream communities to relocate to safer areas.
Ogun State had its share of the flood that wreaked havoc in parts of the country, as no fewer than two lives were lost and property, including several fish farms worth several millions of Naira, was lost.
In the July 8 and 9 torrential rainfall, two male adults have swept away while crossing a road along Alagbole – Akute Road, in Ifo local government area of the state.
Same day, about 200 fish farmers at Ikangba/Agoro in Odogbolu’s local government area of the state counted their losses after the flood hit their clusters of fish ponds, washing away an investment they put at over N500 million.
The Chairman of the Ikanga /Agoro Fish Farmers Association, Mr Lazarus Okole, who disclosed this, said over 200 affected farmers spread across five fish farm clusters of Ifeoluwa, Asejere, Progressive, Joye and Kajola.
He explained that though the farmers had in the past experienced flooding, the magnitude and impact of the losses suffered could not be compared with that of the July disaster, saying that except if the federal and state governments come to their rescue, many farmers might die from the shock of the losses. (Vanguard)