No fewer than 74 Local Government Areas (LGA) in 30 states in Nigeria will experience severe flooding in June, July, August and September 2019, the nation’s hydrological agency has said.
Another 279 local government areas will experience minimum flooding across the country in the period, it adds.
Mr Clement Nze, Director-General, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), under the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, gave the prediction at a Stakeholders’ Validation Workshop in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Wednesday, June 26, 2019.
The workshop had the theme: Review and Validation of the Project Report for Collection of Baseline Data, Study of Flood Prone Areas and Production of Flood Vulnerability/Hydrogeological Maps for Hydrological Area five (Niger South).
“In our 2019 prediction, we mentioned that about 74 LGA in 30 states would be heavily impacted by flooding while another 279 LGAs will not experience severe flooding.
“The implication is that we should begin to take measures to avert this disaster. We are predicting that this would occur between June, July, August and September.
“The flooding will be helped by inflow of water from the trans-boundary in River Niger and River Benue,” Nze said.
He attributed the flooding to climate change and other man-made factors, including the dumping of refuse in drains and building of structures on natural water channels.
The director-general said the workshop, organised by NIHSA in collaboration with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), sought to tackle the menace of flooding in the country.
“To this end, a detailed study has been done delineating flood zones and telling us factors that contribute to incessant flooding within the region.
“So, the aim of the workshop is to disseminate information coming out from detailed studies on the hyrdrogeological behaviour of hydrogeological areas of Anambra, Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi and Rivers.
“Hydrological study has to do with studies of surface and ground water. So, we are looking to find out how the surface and ground water in these areas influence flooding.
“We will discuss and share experience in new findings that will enrich the final submission of the report by the contractor handling the project,” he said.
SPDC’s Manager of Geosolutions, Jake Emakpor, said the company took flood management very seriously to avert repeat of the 2012 flooding that destroyed lives and property.
He said the flooding of 2012 had become an eye opener to the company going by the devastation to its field locations and facilities in its areas of operation.
“So, it is important for all of us to come together to continue collaborating, particularly in the area of data acquisition and information sharing,” he said.
Also speaking, Dr Dakuku Peterside, the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), expressed optimism that the workshop would help address challenges of flooding in communities.
Represented by Ugbede Williams, an official in NIMASA, Peterside said the workshop would also enlighten the minds of the people on dangers in erecting structures along natural water channels.
Highlight of the workshop was presentation of the flood vulnerability/hydrogeological maps and NIHSA’s 2019 Annual Flood Outlook.
Other stakeholders at the workshop include the Ministries of Environment of Rivers and Kogi states, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Boards (NIMASA) and Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation, among others.
By Desmond Ejibas