RE: OVER 300 HOUSES FLOODED IN TARABA AS ‘CAMEROON OPENS DAM’
The attention of Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has been drawn to the news making the rounds through several print and electronic media outlets, alleging that over 300 buildings have been submerged in a flood that ravaged several communities in Jalingo, the Taraba state capital. According to the report, residents in Jalingo said that the flooding commenced on Saturday morning, in the wake of a heavy downpour. While stating that no lives were lost, it was further reported that residents watched helplessly as their business centres, vehicles, worship centres and schools were submerged by the flood. It was widely reported that the flood was aggravated by the release of water from the Cameroonian Lagdo Dam built within the Cameroonian portion of River Benue.
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency wishes to emphatically state that the flash flood was caused by localized heavy downpour that occurred from the night of Friday, 9th July till around 4am on Saturday, 10th July, 2021 in Mayo Goi area of Jalingo town. However, report from the NIHSA Yola Office stated that poor or lack of drainage systems, buildings erected within the flood paths, etc, aggravated the flood, and not release of any water from Lagdo Dam in Cameroon. It should be noted that at this period of the year, impoundment of water into the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon for hydropower generation is still in progress. Under normal circumstances, it is usually around the 3rd week of September that the Lagdo Dam reservoir approaches an elevation of 213m. Spillage of water can only take place once the reservoir level approaches 216m. Therefore, no release of water from Lagdo Dam ever took place.
For purposes of clarity, it should be noted that Jalingo in Taraba State is downstream Adamawa State. Before any flood arising from the release of water from Lagdo Dam could submerge any town in Taraba State, the following towns in Adamawa State, upstream Taraba State, would have been submerged, namely:- Wuroboki, Lau, Jimeta, Ibbi, Numan, Yola, etc, all in Adamawa State.
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) which is the most active, most responsive and most visible agency of the Federal Government at the upstream sector in the prediction and issuance of flood early warning alerts in Nigeria, had earlier in the year predicted that Yorro, Gassol, Ardo-Kola, Lau, Jalingo, Wukari, all in Taraba State, fall within the Highly Probable Flood Risk LGAs in the country in 2021. This was contained in the Agency’s 2021 Annual Flood Outlook (2021 AFO) publication which was presented to the general public on the 6th of May, 2021, by the Honourable Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleiman H. Adamu, FNSE, FAEng. The public presentation was followed up with letters to all the Governors of the 36 states of the Federation and the Honourable Minister of the FCTA, intimating each of them on the specific LGAs in their states that are susceptible to flooding in the course of year 2021.
From the recent updates on 2021 Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), some parts of the country are already witnessing delayed onset of rainfall and there is a likelihood of early cessation of rainfall. Under this climatic condition, there is the possibility of most parts of the country experiencing shorter period of rainy season. Therefore, when the spread of rainfall is over a shorter period, there is the tendency to experience more flooding incidents in the event the rainfall within these few months is of high intensity.
Engr Clement Nze,
Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA)
11th July, 2021