Flood disaster looms in Nigeria, NEMA warns

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With the current rise in water level in the River Niger axis and increased persistent rainfall, Nigeria might experience flood disaster higher than the 2012 flood episode, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has warned.The alarm came after the Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency (NHSA) alerted NEMA, after receiving a distressed call revealing that all indices that led to the 2012 flood disaster has manifested and the level of water in the River Niger at the confluence of Lokoja was currently at 10.1m, as against 9.43m in 2012.

The agency further revealed that current water was being discharged at 21, 326 cubic metres, as against 19, 762 cubic metres in 2012, putting Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Kogi, Edo, Anambra, Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta states at high risk of flooding in the River Niger axis, while Adamawa, Benue and Taraba states are at risk on the River Benue axis. Director General of NEMA, Mustapha Maihaja, during an emergency stakeholders meeting in Abuja, said: “It is clear that all indices that resulted in the 2012 flood disaster has manifested.

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“However, there is no information yet from Lagdo Dam on any preparation for discharge, but with the current spate of rainfalls across the region, there is no guarantee that the Camerounian Government would not discharge.” He said the agency was invigorating its enlightenment campaign in frontline states in an aggressive manner, such that anyone living in flood plain areas would be well informed of the dangers.

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NHSA’s Director of Engineering Hydrology, Clement Eze, said the agency received the distress call around 9:00pm on Thursday, adding that the situation was very critical, because Nigeria is at the downstream of activities of member countries of the Niger Basin.He said currently Shiroro, Jebba and Kainji Dams have been spilling water to avoid dam breakage and had alerted that the water was still coming very high.

Eze expressed worry over an impending flood situation in Nigeria with an additional three weeks of rainfall in northern Nigeria and the current stage of discharge of water from the River Niger.He said information reaching NHSA has it that Lagdo Dam in Cameroun was still impounding the water, but if the intensity of rainfall continued, Adamawa, Benue and Taraba states would be flooded

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Director, Search and Rescue at the Defence Headquarters, Admiral Dolapo Kolawole, however, disclosed that military authorities have put the Nigerian Navy and Air Force on red alert in case of any disaster, assuring that helicopters would be deployed for evacuation.He disclosed plans by the disaster and rescue unit to tour the affected states to access the state of readiness of the arm forces unit there for the operation.

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