16 October 2018

Nigeria: 1.9 Million People Affected By Flood in 2018 - NEMA

Abuja — A report released yesterday by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) showed that as at October 9, 2018, a total of 103 Local Government Areas (LGAs) across 10 states in the country, were impacted by severe flooding with an estimated 1.9 million people affected.

According to the report made available to THISDAY in Abuja by the agency, 561,442 people have been internally displaced while 351,236 are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance.

According to NEMA, "The death toll stands at 199 people since late August with 1,306 injuries reported."

The report noted that areas located along the Niger and Benue rivers have been the most affected by flooding.

Also the recent assessment visits to Kebbi State confirmed that rivarian LGAs located along the banks of the Niger river have suffered severe inundation.

The NEMA report further revealed that the situation has deteriorated in the southern coastal areas, especially Bayelsa State, where some of the major rivers pass through.

According to the report, some 517,694 persons are estimated to have been affected by flooding in Bayelsa State alone, with several communities, schools, houses and hospitals submerged in water.

"The Bayelsa State Governor has ordered the closure of all schools in the state for safety reasons, and emergency evacuations for affected communities are on-going.

"NEMA has installed tents in some communities, and additional homes for displaced persons are being identified in sports complex, schools and nursing homes.

"NEMA is already providing relief material but there is the need for more especially food items as farming communities have seen their farmlands and crops destroyed by the flooding."

The agency further stated that despite slightly falling water levels at Lokoja measuring point, "uncertainty remains as floodwaters will likely take time to recede, and with continuous pressing humanitarian needs in terms of shelter for displaced people, food and non-food items, as well as prevention/control of major health risks such as cholera and malaria."

On the weather outlook, it said that rainfall forecasts are low to moderate and are expected to continue to taper off as the rainy season draws to an end in the coming months.

It added, "Consequently, water levels in the Niger and Benue rivers are starting to drop after reaching a peak in late September/early October, reducing the likelihood of further flooding."

Continuing, the report noted that the water levels at Lokoja station, where the Niger and Benue rivers meet, dropped from 11.21 meters on September 21 to 10.74 meters by October 2, though latest reports indicate a slight increase between 02 and 05 October from 10.74 to 10.80m.

"The maximum level reached in 2012 was 12.84 meters (29 September). The forecast for the next two weeks continues to predict light to moderate rainfalls across the southern part of Nigeria and parts of Cameroon, with rainfall of over 150mm only likely along coastal areas", it explained.

In addition, it said that a few isolated pockets of higher rainfall is forecasted along the Nigeria‐Cameroun border with a higher than average accumulated rainfall (125 mm/week compared to the 100 mm average), which could still affect levels in the Benue river basins.

NEMA had last week, further declared national disaster in five states of Adamawa, Taraba, Rivers, Kebbi, and Bayelsa, following a devastating flood that ravaged the states

According to the agency, the flooding has brought to nine the number of states under national disaster caused by the flood devastation. Other four states earlier declared are Niger, Kogi, Anambra and Delta.

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