Massive flooding forecast to sweep through wide swaths of Nigeria between September and October


Massive flooding is forecast to sweep through many parts of Nigeria between September and October, the country's hydrological services agency warned on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The red alert came days after flash flooding ripped through the Suleja local government area of Niger State that resulted in at least 11 fatalities.

The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) advised governors of the states to start immediate evacuation of residents in flood-prone areas, noting that heavy rains may lead to property destruction and possible loss of lives.

275 local government areas of the 774 are expected to be moderately affected, while 102 councils might be severely hit, according to director-general Clement Nze.

Among the high-risk areas are Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross Rivers, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Tobe, and Zamfara states.

The alert was sounded after heavy rains triggered flash flooding in Niger State, killing 11 people on Saturday, July 25.

"The month of June is usually the period of effective rainfalls and the beginning of a new hydrological year in the River Niger Basin which covers nine countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Chad, Cote D'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria."

Floods are often worsened by the trans-boundary inflow of rivers Niger and Benue from outside the country before they empty into the Atlantic Ocean.

"As early as June, severe flooding incidents with attendant destructions and loss of lives were recorded in certain parts of the country."

"NIHSA wishes to use this medium to advise state and local governments, stakeholders, multinational companies and public-spirited individuals and philanthropists that all hands should be on the deck to save the country from the consequences of flood pandemic in the year 2020."

Nze continued, "The country still has many days of rainfall in the course of the year. More floods are still expected in the months of August, September, and October."

Releasing excess water from the dams in other countries upstream Niger and Benue rivers may negatively impact Nigeria, which is located downstream of other countries in the Niger Basin.

The director-general added that the effect of any nation in the Niger Basin releasing water from its dams may become too devastating for Nigeria if no actions will be done promptly.

"Therefore, blocked drainages and gutters should be cleared, river channels dredged and structures within the waterways and flood plains and flood paths pulled down."

Speaking on flooding in Lagos and Ogun, Nze said the states are expected to have 255 and 232 days of rainfall, respectively, this year.

"Relevant agencies of the Lagos and Ogun states should brace for possible flooding incidents in the coming months. The country cannot afford to suffer another pandemic within a pandemic."

Featured image credit: Sahara TV/YouTube

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