2019 FLOODING SEASON: NIHSA RAISES ALERT
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has, as one of its mandates, the responsibility of monitoring all the major rivers in Nigeria including the Transboundary Rivers Niger and Benue. The Agency does this through the establishment of automatic and manual hydrological stations which measure several parameters on the rivers. Also, by use of Automatic Weather Observation Systems (AWOS), it equally monitors rainfall distributions across various cities in the country, especially in terms of their intensity and duration. On the strength of field observations/data from these monitoring stations across the country, the Agency periodically issues flood warning alerts to sensitize the general public.
As the nation begins to witness progression in the intensity and duration of rainfall across the country, with attendant floods already being experienced in some cities, NIHSA wishes to urge relevant government agencies, citizens and stakeholders at all levels to brace up for challenge of any possible flooding incidents in 2019.
It should be noted that before the onset of flooding season in 2019, the erstwhile Honourable Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman H. Adamu, FNSE, FNAH, made a public presentation of the Agency’s 2019 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) at a well-attended gathering that attracted various interest groups, including agencies of the Federal and State governments, various stakeholders, the international community and media organizations. Flood scenarios as predicted by NIHSA were classified into three (3) categories of vulnerability: Highly Probable Flood Risk Areas, Probable Flood Risk Areas and Low Flood Risk Areas. By the Agency’s 2019 prediction, 353 LGAs in 30 states are expected to experience one degree of flooding or the other. This has started manifesting across the country as many cities are already counting huge losses arising from flooding incidents.
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) wishes to use this medium to alert the nation to the fact that since May 22, 2019, till date, our hydrological measuring station downstream the confluence of Rivers Niger and Benue in Lokoja, has continued to witness steady rise in water level. Comparative Hydrographs for the station at Lokoja for the years 2012, 2018 and 2019 show that flood level starting from May 22, 2019, exceeded the corresponding values in 2012 and 2018 respectively. The implication of this is the likelihood of river flooding in 2019 which could compare reasonably well with that of year 2018 or even 2012.
As the nation approaches the peak of rainfall with the associated flooding incidents across the country, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) wishes to urge the states and the general public to take necessary measures to prevent the ugly flooding menace of the past years.
- Prompt sensitization of the general public on the information contained in the NIHSA’s Flood Outlook publication as a flood early warning & flood disaster preventive mechanism.
- Attitudinal change
- Enhancement of organisational system at different levels to combat flood disaster i.e. from Federal to State, Local Government and Community levels. Clearly defining functions of each organ responsible for flood control.
- Federal, State and Local Governments should consider clearing of drainage systems and canals and to embark on projects for improving hydraulic conveyance of surface run-offs during peak flows. Removal of refuse, weeds, water hyacinths, and floats on water channels and on all avenues for river run-offs. These exercises are to be undertaken up to the grassroots levels (LGAs).
- Encourage people living along the water-ways and those that are having socio-economic activities on the flood plains, to relocate to safe areas during the peak of the rains.
- Improved system for flood monitoring, flood forecasting and flood early warning.
- Effective and efficient operational procedure for dams and reservoirs and maintenance of other hydraulic and water infrastructure across the country.
- Construction of dykes, flood-walls, buffer dams, detention basins and water retaining structures.
Engr. Clement Onyeaso Nze
Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA)