Again, despite previous experience and warnings from the relevant authorities, several states and local governments across the country have been caught unprepared for the yearly devastating rains and floods.
Investigation by the LEADERSHIP showed that despite repeated warnings by NiMET, most of the states of the federation this year suffered severe setbacks as the rains and the consequential floods swept away residents, houses and farmlands and public infrastructure such as bridges, which collapsed, especially in Bauchi, Gombe, Katsina and Plateau states.
The collapse of bridges and caving in of some highways led to parts of these states being cut off from the rest of the country.
Although most of the states were not forthcoming with the casualty level, findings showed that four states recorded 15 deaths, with Katsina having the highest (10) deaths, Kebbi (4), Plateau (3) and Lagos (1).
Officials of other states contacted by LEADERSHIP said they have the data in place.
Over 33,000 persons in 10 states were affected by floods this year, says NEMA.
Earlier in the year, the federal government had stated that about 178 local government areas (LGAs) in 32 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were at risk of flooding from the early rains from April as predicted by the Nigeria Hydrological Services.
The then minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, said this was according to the presentation of the 2023 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA).
According to him, the states with high flood risk were Adamawa, Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross-River, Delta, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Edo, Gombe, Imo.
Others were Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara, and the Federal Capital Territory.
According to him, “a total of 66 LGAs fall within the high flood risk areas in the month of April, May and June; 148 LGAs in the month of July, August and September, and 100 LGAs for the period of October and November.”
Also, moderate effects of the flood risk would be experienced in the months of April, May and June in 41 local government areas; 199 LGAs in July, August and September, and 72 LGAs in the months of October and November respectively.
Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said about 33,983 persons have been affected by the flooding in different parts of the country as of August, 2023,.
NEMA’s director of planning, research and forecasting, Fatima Kasim, said the agency had been gathering data on persons impacted by the flooding incidents in the last seven months.
Kasim said that flooding, which has become an annual occurrence in the country, is mostly caused by factors such as improper building, poor infrastructure design and construction, bad drainage systems, lack of solid waste management, and harmful land-use practices, among others.
Kasim said the 2023 seasonal climate prediction released by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) had predicted normal to above-normal rainfall patterns for the country.
She added that “As of August 9, the following data has been collated in respect of the 2023 flooding,” she said.
“The number of states affected – 10 states; the number of persons affected – 33,983; the number of persons displaced – 7,353; the number of persons injured – 75; the number of deaths – five; number of houses totally damaged – 1,679, and farmlands totally damaged – 866 hectares.”
In Bauchi, Katsina and Plateau states, 1, 420 houses were destroyed by the floods, with Katsina topping with 876 houses, followed by Bauchi (400) and Plateau (150).
Residents and officials disclosed to LEADERSHIP that 400 houses and 300 farmlands were destroyed in Cheledi, a community in the Kirfi local government area of Bauchi State following heavy downpour in the area.
Victims of the disaster temporarily relocated to government buildings, schools, and houses of relatives not affected by the flood.
The director of Planning, Research and Statistics of the agency, Mr Adamu Nayola, who announced the incident, said: “More than 700 houses and farmlands were destroyed in Cheledi Community, with rice, maize, sorghum, millet, sesame seeds and cowpea destroyed.
He added that the affected houses and farmlands were destroyed when the rivers in the area overflowed their banks after a downpour.
Nayola described the incident as the worst flooding incident to happen in the state this year so far.
He said the Commissioners for Humanitarian Affairs, Housing and Environment had visited the area to assess the degree of damage.
“They assessed the level of damage caused by the flood in all the affected areas and provided necessary assistance to the victims,” Nayola said.
A victim of this year’s flood disaster at Babbaji village in Zaki Local Government Area of Bauchi state, Jauri Datti, has appealed to the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to come to their aid to alleviate the sufferings caused by the flood.
“There is the need for government officials to come and assess the extent of damage caused by the flood in the area to know the type or quantum of assistance the government would be able to provide us”, Datti said.
According to him, this year’s (2023) flood came at a time when people were bedevilled by hardships brought about by the fuel subsidy removal which, he said, had since June to date sent some poverty-stricken Nigerians to their graves.
Another flood victim of Cheledi village in Kirfi Local Government of the state, Shamwilu Auwal, recalled that the recent floods in some parts of the LGA were so devastating that victims received sympathy visits from Kirfi LGA authorities and the lawmaker representing the area in the State House of Assembly.
He explained that unlike last year’s flood in Cheledi which occurred at night time when people were asleep during which some people were killed and hundreds of animals killed and carried away by flood, this year flood came at day time and people tried to curb the menace, hence incurring less damage compared to last year.
He said however that this year’s flood was more disastrous as it also destroyed about 400 houses and washed away no fewer than 300 farmlands.
When LEADERSHIP contacted Adamu Nayola, the director of planning, research and statistics of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), over the incident, he said he could not speak to the press until he got clearance from the newly created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management.
However, Zaki and Kirfi LGAs were not the only areas in the state affected by floods this year, as the State Legislative Assembly recently debated about some other areas of similar concerns where devastating heavy downpours occurred.
According to a member representing Madara/Chinade constituency, Hon. Dr. Nasiru Ahmed Ala, his area was affected by floods this year which generated landslides and eventual destruction of major culverts that link Gangai village with other parts of his constituency, cutting the area from the provision of basic amenities of life
In another development, the director general of the Bauchi State Environmental Protection Agency (BASEPA), Dr Ibrahim Kabir, said the Bauchi State government had intervened in the Cheledi flooding of Kirfi local government area of the state.
Kabir said Governor Bala Mohammed had formed a committee under the leadership of the Commissioner, Ministry of Housing and Environment, Hon Danlami Ahmed Kawule, and other members which include the Commissioner of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Hajiya Hajara Yakubu Wanka, the DG of BASEPA and GM State Emergency Management Agency who had visited the affected areas to ascertain the level of damage caused by flooding.
In Benue State, 473,000 persons are estimated to be affected by flood this year.
The executive secretary of State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA, Sir James Iorpuu, who stated this when he visited the paramount ruler of the Tiv nation, explained that out of the projected number of 473,000, women and girls constituted about 49. 7%, representing 235 081, while men and boys constituted 237, 919.
“The SEMA boss informed the Begh u Tiv that the Governor Alia-led administration had directed the agency to collaborate with relevant stakeholders in the state to devise measures to mitigate the danger pose by flooding.
“This year’s flood was projected to affect 22 of the 23 local governments in the state, with particularly those along the coastal lines in Makurdi, Guma, Gwer West, Buruku, Agatu, Katsina Ala and parts of Gboko worse hit.
In Katsina State, about 10 persons reportedly died in a flood disaster that occurred this year.
Most of those killed were within the Sabuwa Unguwar community in the state capital Katsina, the worst hit area in the July 10 flood caused by poor drainages along the Kofar Kwaya and Kofar Kaura axis after the construction of underpass in the areas
The executive secretary, of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Binta Dangani, said the agency had assessed the level of damage caused by flood in seven local government councils of Katsina – Daura, Dandume, Batagarawa, Mani, Charanchi, and Musawa.
She said the agency disbursed building materials such as roofing sheets, assorted bags of cement and mattresses to about 876 victims to rebuild their homes, adding that the government had spent over N50 million to provide succour to the victims, including hospital care to the people in various areas.
The community leader of Sabuwa Ungwa, Yunusa Rico, who confirmed that 10 persons were killed in the flood, including an infant.
He praised the prompt response of the government to rectify the bridges and for the assistance given to affected victims.
In Plateau State, the Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, Eugene Nyenlong, confirmed to our correspondent that three people lost their lives, while over 150 houses were destroyed after floods caused by downpour wreaked havoc in some communities in Jos North Local Government of Plateau State.
Nyenlong said the affected areas devastated by flood include Ungwan Rogo, Gangere, Rikkos, Bauchi road and Eto-Baba communities. According to him, they have profiled those whose houses are washed away for recommendations to government.
According to him, his agency received a distress call to confirm that three persons had died in the flood adding that NEMA and other stakeholders have visited the affected communities to assess the situation.
He pointed out that a tributary connects the communities and makes them susceptible to flood, noting that apart from the tributary, the areas had poor drainage systems.
Nyenlong said the state government should take action through Jos Metropolitan Development Board (JMDB) to demolish any structures built on water ways.
“From the information before us, three persons have lost their lives from the flood that has become a recurring decimal in those areas.”
The NEMA official further appealed to the state government to ensure residents vacate flood-prone areas as a matter of urgency
When rainfall started in June this year, Kebbi state recorded two disasters which occurred in Zauro town under Birnin Kebbi local government area of the state, and at Dakingari, headquarters of Suru Local Government Area of the state.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the two incidents occurred in August, where many houses and farmlands were destroyed in Zauro as a result of heavy windstorm.
In Dakingari three people reportedly died following a heavy downpour that lasted several hours.
Governor Nasir Idris had since condoled the family of the victims when he visited the area and also donated Forty Million naira to the families of the affected victims.
He also assisted the victims of windstorm in Zauro with relief materials through the state office of emergency relief management agency.
In Niger State 15 local government areas have been devastated by flood so far this year, with 206 communities involved.
The data made available to LEADERSHIP at the State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) revealed that 15 communities were completely displaced.
Mostly affected were Mokwa, Lavun, Lapai , Edati, and Agaie.
The data indicated that apart from the rainfall, the excess discharge of water from the Hydro power dams contributed to the level of devastation.
There are also no fewer than 15 IDP camps around the worst hit areas but most of the flood victims from Kede areas of the state are taking refuge in Kwara state.
Findings revealed that people from Muregi and Gbogifu are taking refuge in Patigi, Kwara state, while people from Chewuya are staying in Gakpan in Kwara state.
A villager Umar Mohammed who was displaced from Ebogi and now stay in neighbouring Katcha local government area said: “We lost everything , our farmlands and houses; we have no option than to relocate to Katcha where we are staying with relations.”
On why they are not staying in the IDP camp, he said: “Here we can try to see how we can earn a living but in the camps, we are expected to hope for help that may not come at the end”.
Meanwhile, Niger state Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) said the profiling of the flood victims was ongoing and that 15of the 25 local government areas were affected by flood so far.
As the water level of the River Niger continues to increase as a result of the increasing rainfall, residents of the flood affected communities in Kogi state are beginning to relocate to safer places to escape the effects of the forecasted flooding.
LEADERSHIP recalls that Kogi state was the epicentre of the 2022 flood with several communities submerged, lives and houses destroyed, farmlands washed in the unfortunate incidence.
A visit to Adankolo and Ganaja communities in Lokoja and Ajaokuta Local government areas revealed that most houses along the river bank had been abandoned following the flood prediction by NiMET and National Emergency Management Agency.
While the victims of the 2022 flooding are still struggling to recover from the trauma, they faulted government at all levels for neglecting the victims and leaving them to their fate.
Daniel Favour, A resident of Adankolo explained that he did all he could to raise money and secure accommodation in another area and he is already trying to relocate his family.
He said, “I have rented another apartment and we are already moving our things to the new house. Nobody came to see us after the flood and the relief materials that were sent were diverted to other areas that didn’t experience the flood”.
Flood victims in Lokoja expressed their displeasure over the way they were treated during the flooding.
A victim, Aisha Abubakar explained that they came to take their data during the flood but they didn’t get any assistance from the government.
She said, “They came to our house last year and they wrote our names and phone numbers. After the flood, they went to Lokongoma to share relief materials. We are waiting for them this year because we know that they will do the same thing.”
Consequent upon the catastrophic effects of flood in Imo State last year, the state government embarked on massive awareness and sensitisation of the citizenry in 637 autonomous communities of the twenty seven local government areas of the state.
However, the state has not recorded any incident of flooding this year.
Meanwhile, the Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma has flagged off the distribution of items for those affected by the 2022 flood disaster in the state.
In Lischiche Community, Obanlikwu Local Government Areas of Cross River State, rice fields and farm yams were damaged as a result of flood caused by heavy downpour and exposed farm owners to economic hardship.
A victim of the flooding at Lischiche Community, Obanlikwu LGA of Cross River, Mr. David Ugba, while narrating his ordeal to LEADERSHIIP, lamented the loss of his yam farm and rice field to flooding.
Ugba said even though life was not lost as a result of flooding, farmlands lost by farmers in the community were enough pain to expose residents of Lischiche Community to economic hardship.
He said the loss of his rice field and yam farm has caused his wards to drop out from school given his poor economic power occasioned by flooding.
Ugba lamented that despite the pain and economic hardship which the victims are going through, federal and state governments are yet to come to their rescue, adding that although officials of State Emergency Management Agency paid them a visit and promised to do something to salvage the situation, nothing has come in the way of assistance.
Other damage caused by the flood includes the breakdown of Kaffa Bridge that links about eight communities to Sankwala LGA and some neighbouring communities of Benue state.
Reacting to the issue, SEMA director general, Mrs. Angela Ogeyi Odey stated that plans were underway by the stage government to respond to the victims.
Ogeyi could not say when the agency would respond to the victims’ need but insisted that government was doing a lot to ensure that victims of any disaster are given assistance.
In Edo State flood devastation has been a perennial problem, especially in some flood impacted communities of Annegbente, Ekperi, Udabba, Udochi Agenebode in Etsako Central, Etsako East and parts Esan South East and Ikpoba Okha local government areas of the state.
The aforementioned communities are flood prone areas prompting the state government to call on residents in lowland and riverine areas in these areas to be vigilant and relocate to higher plains as a result of a likely flooding.
As anxiety mounts among residents of the flood prone areas, the edo state government through the commissioner for communication and orientation, Chris Nehikhare, however assured the support of the state government to those displaced by the flood.
“The Edo State Government will provide support to those displaced from their homes by the rising water level occasioned by the overflow of the River Benue.
“Because we know this is going to happen, we had to move quickly to ensure that our Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs’) camps are in a good state and the residents adequately briefed and sensitized.”
Although, the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (Nimet) predicted that no fewer than 15 local government areas in Rivers State, would be affected by the 2023 impending flood, there seems to be no sign of the yearly disaster yet.
Communities in Abua/Odual, Ahoada-East, Ahoada-West and Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government areas are affected by the yearly flood due to their proximity to the Orashi River and its tributaries.
LEADERSHIP observed that Governor Siminalayi Fubara recently set up a multi-sectoral committee on flood involving various stakeholders, like the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Social Welfare
It was further observed that majority of the local government chairmen in the state also constituted flood committees, which had been going round communities to sensitize them on the impending flood.
The committees also embarked on the clearing of drainages and canals in the various communities in their respective local government areas.
As part of its proactive measures, the state government recently launched its 2023 Road Map to mitigate the effect of the flood in the state.
Speaking during the launching which was held at Ahoada Town in Ahoada-East local government area, the state deputy governor, Professor Ngozi Odu, said the actions taken so far underscore the level of preparedness of the State when the flood comes.
Odu said: “The mitigation is in three phases, and phase one is almost concluded with the identification and preparation of IDP camps and today the provision of equipment and materials to flash point Local Government Areas, namely Ahoada- East, Ahoada-West, ONELGA and Abua/Odual”.
Speaking on the impending flood, chairman of the State Flood Management Committee, Hon. Chidi Amadi, said all necessary measures had been taken to forestall the repeat of the ugly food disaster last year.
Enugu State has not recorded any flood that claimed the lives of people since the beginning of this year, but the South East Zone of the National Emergency Management Agency ( NEMA) in collaboration with the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), in their efforts to reduce losses associated with flood disaster, had commenced flood sensitization programme across the flood prone areas of Enugu state.
The NEMA team, in collaboration with Enugu State Emergency Management Agency, carried out flood mitigation/ preparedness awareness at Awgu LGA.
It is expected that the team will take the campaign to other local government areas of the state.
In Nasarawa State, respondents who spoke to LEADERSHIP said the rainfall has been low, especially between August and September when the state normally experienced massive flooding.
As a result, there was no serious flood in the magnitude that would cause destruction and fatality this year.
The State Emergency Management Agency (NASEMA) recalled that at the end of September last year, 11 out of the 13 local government areas of the state had already been affected by flood.
The state secretary of the Rice Farmers Associates of Nigeria (RIFAN), Mr Nashua Jonathan Assapin, told our correspondent in an interview on Thursday that the body was not worried about the flood this year, rather, it is the lack of rain to enhance their harvests.
According to NASEMA, flood incidents affected only two local government areas of the state this year, Lafia and Toto LGAs.
Heavy rainfalls have been witnessed in Lagos State and have resulted in flooding of some areas both in the Lagos Island and mainland.
A motorcycle rider simply identified as Abe was on Saturday swept away by flood during a heavy rainfall in Lagos.
The territorial coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Ibrahim Farinloye said flood-affected populations at the Papa Ashafa and Fashola communities, both in the Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos, have been rescued.
Farinloye said NEMA, along with the Disaster Management Unit of the Nigeria Police from the Dopemu Divisional Police Station, Lagos State Neighbourhood Security Corp in conjunction with the Community Development Associations of Papa Ashafa, Fashola and others had distributed emergency relief aid to the flood-impacted communities.
However, residents of Agege area of Lagos State adversely affected by flooding have called on the state and local governments to come to their aid.
Commenting on the rainfall, the director general of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Mustapha Habib Ahmed, said the agency had ordered the immediate release of relief materials to the people who had taken refuge in four churches in the areas.
Torrential rainfall led to the flooding that ravaged Ikire, in Irewole local government area of Osun state on Saturday, July 22, 2023.
Though no life was lost, properties worth millions of naira were destroyed while vehicular movement was affected on the Ikire axis of the Ibadan/Ife axis of the dual carriageway on the fateful day.
Mostly affected were Mateba, Atoto, Oja ale, Owode,Oluofinrin, Oriolori, Sagba junction up to CAC Alasepe junction, among others.
Flooding has become an annual occurrence due to a lack of commensurate channelisation on the dual carriageway.
Reacting to the flooding on the floor of the Senate, Senator Francis Fadahunsi said the reconstruction of the dual carriageway was awarded with a paltry N581m released as upfront, while N11bn provision was made available for it in the 2022 supplementary budget but diverted to fuel subsidy palliative.