Flood Alert: NCF calls for urgent action

Following the impending flood to be witnessed in many parts of the country, as declared recently by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) and as indicated in the 2016 Annual Flood Outlook of the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NHSA) and corroborated by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has urged Nigerians to take actions that would reduce the impact of the imminent disaster.

According to the regulatory agencies’ declaration, many states across the country will be affected, and in fact, some communities in Benue, Gombe, Kano, Nasarawa, Plateau, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara, have already been overwhelmed by flood.

In a statement signed by Mr Adeniyi Karunwi, the Director General of the foundation, it urged Nigerians to engage in various short and long term sustainable measures that can mitigate the effects of climate change which we are experiencing, rather than live in fear of the flood.

“The time to act is now as the reality of the impact of climate change is clearly manifesting in our daily lives. We therefore urge Nigerians, especially people living in flood-prone areas to as a matter of urgency, embark on decongesting and clearing of drainages in and around their surroundings, and engage in proper waste management by disposing of their wastes in designated dumpsites only.

“We also implore all, particularly business organisations, to consider cutting down on fossil fuel usage and promote energy use efficiency in their business operations towards the attainment of a green economy, as well as  prioritise keeping the atmospheric temperature below 2°C so as to minimise the threat of the looming natural disaster,” it said.

The foundation further warned coastal states such as Lagos, Bayelsa, Delta and others, to take necessary actions in curtailing the activities of illegal sand miners as this will also help prevent coastal erosion in the communities. It called on regulatory bodies involved to be fully prepared to handle the consequent emergency situation in manners that will prevent or minimise losses.

NiMET had recently warned of potential flooding in 11 states across the country between August and October, urging state governments to take pro-active action against the imminent disaster.

Revealed in a statement signed by the NiMet Head of Corporate Communication, Eva Azinge, the affected states include Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Kaduna, Kwara, Nasarawa, Yobe and Zamfara.

Azinge said NiMET had predicted flooding in the 11 states due to the cumulative high intensity rainfall in those parts of the country in June and July, adding that with the current rainfall, there were prospects of flooding in August and October.

“After thorough analyses of rainfall data from our observatories nationwide for June and July, soil moisture has either reached saturation, or near saturation levels. This is due to cumulative high intensity rainfall in some parts of the country in June and July.

“This means that floods should be expected in these areas because the soil is no longer able to absorb more rainwater in the coming weeks which coincide with the peak rainy season,” she said.

The agency said that although many parts of the country would experience lower than normal total rainfall due to the effect of El Nino, flooding could still be experienced in such areas, particularly those that are naturally prone to flooding.

The agency therefore, advised governments, communities and individuals in these vulnerable parts of the country to take proactive actions such as clearing water channels and drainages, and also avoid activities that block the free flow of water.

Acknowledging the tree planting effort of some state governments, NCF encouraged other states that are yet to commence such initiative to do so in order for such to act as natural flood barriers.

“The reactivation of existing community early warning system that can assist vulnerable communities to plan and mitigate the impact of flooding as it affects livelihood, farmlands, and survival is also a very strong step that should be taken as priority by state governments at this time,” it added.