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FG writes govs as agency predicts flooding in 31 states

The Federal Government has issued notifications to at least 31 governors, alerting them to the risk of flooding in their respective states from April to November of this year. Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof Joseph Utsev, disclosed this during a press briefing in Abuja on the 2024 Annual Flood Outlook for Nigeria.

According to the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), a total of 148 local government areas across Lagos, Kano, Delta, and 28 other states have been classified as high flood-risk zones. In response to the impending threat, several state governments have pledged to take preventive measures, including demolishing structures along river channels, relocating residents, and clearing drainages.

Highlighting the key findings of the 2024 Annual Flood Outlook, Minister Utsev revealed that high flood-risk areas in 31 states would experience significant flooding between April and November 2024. This includes 72 local government areas in April to June, 135 local government areas in July to September, and 44 local government areas in October to November. Additionally, areas classified as moderate flood-risk zones are expected to witness moderate flooding during the same period.

The minister emphasized that urban centers across the country, including Abakaliki, Abeokuta, Abuja, Asaba, Benin City, Birnin-Kebbi, Calabar, Ibadan, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Makurdi, Nguru, Onitsha, Oshogbo, Port Harcourt, Sokoto, Warri, and Yola, would be susceptible to flash and urban floods.

Furthermore, coastal states such as Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Lagos, Ogun, Rivers, and Ondo are at risk of coastal flooding due to rising sea levels and tidal surges, affecting fishing, wildlife habitats, and river navigation.

The Federal Government has proactively informed state governors about the potential flood situation in their states to facilitate necessary preparations and mitigate the impact of flooding. Minister Utsev urged governors to take swift action based on the information provided in the Annual Flood Outlook publication, which includes detailed maps indicating the expected level of flooding in each state.

In addition, Director-General of NIHSA, Clement Nze, called for collective efforts from stakeholders, policymakers, and relevant government agencies to address the flood risk effectively. He emphasized the importance of flood forecasting and early warning systems in minimizing the negative impacts on lives, property, agriculture, infrastructure, and socio-economic activities.

In response to the flood forecast, various state governments have initiated preparedness measures. In Sokoto State, the Emergency Management Agency has conducted awareness campaigns in flood-prone communities, while the Benue State Government has set up committees to avert potential disasters and relocate residents living in flood-prone areas. Similarly, Rivers and Lagos States have established standing committees and planned relocation strategies to mitigate flood risks.

Overall, concerted efforts at the federal and state levels are underway to enhance flood mitigation, preparedness, adaptation, and response capabilities across Nigeria, aiming to minimize the devastating impacts of flooding on communities and the economy.

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