As the rainy season begins in 2023, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the State Governments are taking action to reduce the expected severe flooding.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) issued warnings that this year’s flood may be more severe than the one in 2022.
In 34 States, farmland, infrastructure, homes, cars, and other property were damaged; the worst hit was Adamawa, Anambra, Bayelsa, Kebbi, Kogi, Kaduna, Niger, Yobe, and Zamfara.
The UN disbursed $10.5 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) due to the severity of the situation.
The 2023 Flood Outlook issued by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) in February revealed that 178 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in 32 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are under threat.
During the mid-term review of the Sendai Framework For Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) held last Friday at the UN Headquarters in New York, NEMA assured of its preparedness.
Nigeria’s statement forwarded to DAILY POST by spokesperson Manzo Ezekiel shows the 2022 flood affected 4 million citizens, displaced 2 million, caused 665 deaths, and destroyed 355,986 houses and 944,989 hectares of farmlands.
The Director General, Mustapha Habib Ahmed said the Federal Government has set up a Presidential Committee for the development of a comprehensive Plan of Action for Preventing Flood Disaster.
The plan is to integrate structural and non-structural measures, ecosystem needs, and land and water management, and set out coordination among stakeholders for effective flood management and implementation actions.
Ahmed announced the launch of the 2023 Climate-Related Preparedness and Mitigation Strategies, a document to assist partner’s planning measures to safeguard lives, livelihood, infrastructure, productive assets, and the environment.
In collaboration with the Nigerian National Space Development Agency (NASDA), NEMA is increasing the availability of early warning systems and risk information through the media and other communications channels.
The agency has also partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on the establishment of a National Disaster Database and Risk-informed development to address current and future risks.
“NEMA has commenced the conduct of National and Sub-National Platforms for DRR. The events took place in three of the six geo-political zones of Nigeria with the rest expected to be covered before the 3rd week of June,” Amed disclosed.
The DG requested technical support on capacity building, training on early warning forecasting, hazard risk analysis, Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), and Sendai Framework monitoring and reporting.
Meanwhile, States too are stepping up efforts. In Anambra, the high-risk areas are Ogbaru, Ayamelum, Anambra East, Anambra West, Onitsha North, Onitsha South, Awka North, Idemili South, Ekwusigo, and Ihiala LGAs.
The government appealed to residents in low areas to evacuate their families ahead of time.
It confirmed the setting up of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps for early evacuees.
“We have warned of the need for desilting of water channels. People should stop constructing in water plains and across water channels,” Commissioner for Information, Paul Nwosu told DAILY POST.
“Clear gutters and drainages, do not dispose of your trash there; move to higher ground before the flood becomes neck deep. If cut off from the designated point, climb and stay on the high platform.
“SEMA has issued flood mitigation measures to residents of riverine areas, including making concrete plans for timely harvesting and evacuation of farm produce and livestock to avoid losses.
“People should not wait until the flood comes to harvest. They must make concrete plans to secure their household properties and essential belongings as much as possible before the flood sets in,” he said.
Last year, Anambra recorded high mortality in riverine areas, including the passing of three school kids in Onitsha and the death of 50 persons after a boat carrying 80 passengers capsized in Ogbaru.
In Kogi, the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) told DAILY POST that the authorities are taking proactive steps in view of the devastating 2022 flood.
Nine LGAs along the Niger and Benue rivers were then severely affected: Lokoja, Kogi-Koto, Ajaokuta, Ofu, Igalamela-Odolu, Bassa, Idah, Ibaji, and Omala.
“We have embarked on an aggressive awareness to intimate the public about the projected 2023 floods and the need for residents to move to high ground,” said the Director of the Relief Unit, Ajibade Abimbola.
In Yobe, SEMA Executive Secretary, Mohammed Goje, 13 Ministries, Department and Agencies, non-governmental organizations, and humanitarian partners resolved to take joint actions.
They agreed to liaise with religious, traditional, and community leaders to increase awareness across and continuously monitor the dam gauge of rivers.
SEMA and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) are to identify relevant MDAs to draft a 5-year plan on flood mitigation and control.
The government added that it would identify schools prone to flooding and schools occupied by IDPs; timely release of funds for emergency response is expected.
Meanwhile, in the first week of May, Labba Kuka in Mutai ward of Gujba LGA recorded a flood following a heavy downpour that killed 3 people, injured 9, and displaced 271 households.