Director-general of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Mustapha Habib Ahmed said over 500 000 Nigerians have been affected by heavy flooding in 29 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) this year.
Ahmed made the disclosure during an emergency meeting on flood situation in Nigeria in Abuja yesterday. He said already, 300 lives have been lost to the disaster, with 500 persons seriously injured, while over 100, 000 others are displaced.
“So far, it is on record that 29 states, including the FCT have experienced heavy flooding, with more than 500, 000 persons already affected.
“Our records indicate that more than 300 persons have been lost, over 500 persons are seriously injured, with more than 100, 000 others displaced,” Ahmed said.
Ahmed said the displaced persons now live in temporary shelters, including schools, other public buildings or amongst benevolent host families.
The director-general revealed that the Lagdo Dam operators in the Republic of Cameron commenced the release of excess water from the reservoir on September 13, 2022, adding that the release of the water down to Nigeria through River Benue and its tributaries would inundate communities that have been impacted by heavy rainfalls.
He said the released water complicates the situation further downstream, as Nigeria’s inland reservoirs including the Kainji, Jebba Shiroro dams are also expected to overflow between now and October ending.
Ahmed said, “According to the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Kainji, and Jebba dams have already started spilling excess water from their reservoirs. This will have serious consequences on frontline states and communities along the courses of rivers Niger and Benue. These states include Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Niger Nasarawa, Kebbi and Kogi states.
Niger Delta states of Edo, Delta, Cross River, Rivers and Bayelsa and Anambra State are expected to record heavy floods due to predicted above normal rains, coupled with the combined waters of river Niger and Benue as they empty into the region.
The NEMA boss advised all governments of the frontline states to move away communities at the risk of inundation. He urged them to identify safe higher grounds for evacuation of persons and preposition adequate stockpiles of food and non-food items, portable water, hygiene, safety and security to enable them have a fair level of comfort during the period of possible displacement.
He maintained that NEMA is already monitoring the situation and would consider the activation of the Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs) to coordinate the flood disaster response in all the states at risk.