* Says 603 Nigerians have died
* Anambra, Delta, 3 others still at risk
*Residents of flood prone areas for evacuation
*To send delegation to Cameroon over Lagdo dam
By Laraba MUREY
The federal government has sounded the alarm that flooding in the country was far from over, stating that Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Cross River, and Rivers are still at risk of adverse flooding up to November, this year.
If further disclosed that 603 lives have been lost, with 2,504 million people affected and another 1,302,589 displaced across the country.
At a press briefing in Abuja on Sunday, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, disclosed that the disaster injured 2,407 persons, partially damaged 121,318 houses, totally damaged 82,053 houses, partially damaged 108,392 hectares of farmlands and totally damaged 332,327 hectares of farmlands.
She stressed that the governments of the respective states, local government councils and communities to “prepare by evacuating people living on flood plains to high grounds, providing tents and relief materials, fresh water as well as medical supply for a possible outbreak of water-borne disease.”
Further measures to mitigate the flooding crisis the minister hinted was that the government has initiated a bilateral discussion with authorities in Cameroon next month to begin in November 2022, on the periodic opening of the Lagdo dam.
“The delegation to Cameroon is to be led by the permanent secretary and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be requested to facilitate it,” she said.
On the loss of lives and destruction of property, she said, “The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development is concerned that despite all our efforts of averting the consequence of the 2022 flooding season, unfortunately, we have recorded the loss of over 500 lives, partial or total damage of more than 90,000 houses, damage of more than 140, 000 hectares of farmland, so many roads and other critical infrastructures were also affected.”
“You all will recall that on Tuesday, 15th February 2022, the Nigerian Metrological Agency released the 2022 Seasonal Climate Prediction informing us that the rains of 2022 will be heavier and longer. Furthermore, on Thursday, 12th May 2022, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency released the Annual Flood Outlook. Immediately after these two releases, the National Emergency Management Agency was all out, armed with the scientific releases from the two agencies, in the media and went to all states and FCT, warning of expected floods and advising on mitigating and preparedness actions they need to take to minimize losses and damages.
“I also briefed the National Economic Council on 22nd September 2022, where I outlined preparedness strategies that all state governments should take to mitigate the 2022 floods.
“I have laid this background so that you will appreciate the concern of this Ministry that despite all these efforts, we still appear to have become overwhelmed by the flood when it came.
“However, in response to the 2022 flood situation, I directed the Permanent Secretary to convene an emergency technical stakeholder meeting of all responsive agencies to strategies immediate response to the situation. That meeting was held on the 11th of October 2022 and they all have formulated plans and strategies for response,” she further said.
“The meeting, among other things, resolved that: “Although flood has become an annual disaster with devastating consequences and the effect of Climate Change makes it difficult to prevent in Nigeria, it can be mitigated and managed
“There was enough warning and information about the 2022 flood but states, local governments and communities appear not to take heed; thus the meeting agreed to form a high-powered delegation to state governors to advocate for more commitment to strengthen state response mechanisms as stipulated in the National Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan.”
Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital territory, has been facing fuel scarcity owing to the flooding that have impeded the movement of petroleum tankers from Lagos through Lokoja, Kogi state.
Also, thousands of farmlands in Nasarawa, Benue, Adamawa and Bauchi states have been washed away by heavy flooding.