The Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) publication by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) is one of its statutory mandate, which amongst other functions, is to issue forecasts on flood, sensitize Nigerians on flood management and mainstreaming disaster reduction efforts for sustainable socio-economic development. The aim is to sensitize the general public particularly those living in the coastal and riverine areas, including cities and communities along the transboundary Rivers Niger and Benue on the risk of flooding.
The AFO has over the years created awareness and proffered mitigation measures which has resulted into significant reduction in loss of lives, and damage to goods and property. The Agency, through AFO, has also contributed to enhancing the development of infrastructure and socio-economic activities in the country over the last eight years since AFO was launched.
The 2021 AFO, which is the ninth in the series, derived the flood scenarios across the country from the application of three models. The flood predictions indicated that parts of 121 LGAs in 27 States and the FCT fall within the highly probable flood risk areas, while parts of 302 LGAs in all the 36 States of the Federation including the FCT fall within the moderately probable flood risk areas. The parts of the remaining 351 LGAs fall within the low probable flood risks areas. However, the predicted probable flood areal coverage in 2021 is expected to be similar but lower in magnitude to that of 2020.
The 27 highly probable flood risk states are: Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross-River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba and Zamfara.
In addition, some coastal States such as Bayelsa, Delta and Lagos are expected to experience coastal flooding due to rise in sea level and tidal surge and this could impact fishing, habitation and coastal transportation. On account of poor drainage systems, flash and urban floods are expected to occur in some locations such as Birnin–Kebbi, Sokoto, Kaduna, Gombe, Yola, Makurdi, Abuja, Lafia, Asaba, Port Harcourt, Yenagoa, Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Benin City, Oshogbo, Ado-Ekiti, Abakaliki, Awka, Nsukka, Calabar, Owerri, Kano, and other major cities.
Information on the extent and severity of the expected flooding have been detailed in the 2021 AFO publication. Therefore, the need for aggressive sensitization and awareness campaigns cannot be over-emphasized. Also, constant clearing of water ways and maintenance of hydraulic structures such as dam and reservoirs are very essential as these will ensure free flow of runoff into the provided drainages and the natural courses.
The Agency, therefore, call on stakeholders, decision and policy makers, relevant federal and state government’s agencies and departments to take note of the flood early warnings and information and put in place mitigation measures. It is, also, advised that the predictions of flood scenarios for 2021 be adhered to and all recommendations be heeded by water users.