27 April 2013

Nigeria: 31 States to Experience Devastating Flood in 2013, Says Report

Apart from Ekiti, Enugu, Katsina, Imo, Abia States and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), all other states in Nigeria will experience a devastating flood this year.

The states are Zamfara, Yobe, Sokoto, Rivers, Taraba, Plateau, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Niger, Nasarawa, Lagos, Kwara, Kogi, Kebbi, Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Gombe, Edo, Ebonyi, Delta, Cross Rivers, Benue, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, and Adamawa.

This was contained in 2013 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) for Nigeria presented by the Director General, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), John Shamonda.

Speaking after a three-day programme on the flood outlook, organised by the NIHSA, Shamonda, said efforts were being geared towards ensuring that the effect was less felt in these areas.

The DG explained that 156 Local Government Areas would experience the devastating flood, while other areas might not be affected at all.

"Floods and associated hazards may be inevitable, but they can be minimised and turned into an opportunity to transform society into a higher level of sustainability. This requires pro-activeness and a change of paradigm from emergency management to flood risk management in order to avert a disaster," he said.

The DG said his agency came to the conclusion of the flood forecast based on the earlier report by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), which led his team to assess flood outlook that came out with the report.

He said: "The 2012 NIMET SRP drew the attention to high rainfall which led to devastating floods across Nigeria. NIMET's 2013 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) has again indicated that high rainfalls are to be expected in some parts of the country in 2013. In response to this prediction, the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency set up a Technical Committee to assess the Flood Outlook for 2013 in Nigeria.

"In the absence of a reliable model adapted for flood forecasting for the country, the committee adopted simple empirical techniques of relating flood factors referenced to 2012 data and flood extent in combination with spatial analysis using our own method to assess the flood outlook for 2013 based on NIMET's 2013 SRP data.

"The analysis of deviation in annual rainfall and length of season, together with 2012 flow discharges observed at selected stations led to the outlook of greater flooding scenario across the country than occurred in 2012. A digital map of the country showing the spatial extent of flooding to be expected in 2013 is a major output of the assessment."

Shamonda said the expected areas of worse scenario of river flooding were located in the Komadugu Yobe Basin and the Niger and Benue troughs.

"The peak floods at the confluence of Rivers Niger and Benue to the Niger Delta are also expected to be as high as the 2012 floods. The worst scenario are expected in Kogi, Edo, Delta and Anambra States, the Coastal Delta States of Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta and some States in the Southwest such as Ondo, Ogun, and Lagos are expected to have coastal flooding.

"Also flash floods are expected in major urban centres of Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano, Yola, Onitsha, Oshogbo, Ibadan, except where urban drainage facilities may have been cleared of debris and waste dumps.

As part of efforts in cushioning the effect of the flood, the NIHSA boss recommended that the major reservoirs on the Komadugu, Yobe Basin and the Niger and Benue basins should be lowered of storage in May and June in order to accommodate flood water arriving from July.

Continuing, he said: "Governments at all levels should create awareness on the need for communities to relocate to safer terrain. The need to develop flood modelling and early warning systems cannot be overemphasized with current trends in climate and weather change.

"There is also need to carry out a comprehensive flood hazard map for all areas considered at risk of flooding in the country".

While commending the NIHSA for the early warning given to Nigerians concerning flood in 2013, Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochkepe urged the people to incorporate risk management principles in water resources management, prevent flood hazards turning into disasters, as well as increasing multidisciplinary approaches in flood management.

Ochekpe also enjoined Nigerians to improve information on integrated flood management approaches, alleviate poverty through preventive and response strategies for flood vulnerable sections and finally enhance community participation in irrigation and appropriate adaption.

"The 2013 Flood Outlook is a flood risk management element which entails multidisciplinary contributions to improve information that will promote preventive and responsive strategies in mitigating the impacts of floods through informed decisions by relevant authorities and agencies

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