Home Feature 40 million Nigerians at risk of flooding – NEMA

40 million Nigerians at risk of flooding – NEMA

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About 20 percent out of Nigeria’s estimated population of 200 million people are at the risk of one form of flood or the other across the country, the National Emergency Management Agency announced on Thursday.

With an estimated population of 200 million people, 20 percent of this figure means that about 40 million citizens are being affected by one form of flood or the other, especially during the rainy season.

To help cushion the impact of the flood as Nigeria approaches the raining season, the Director-General, NEMA, Mustapha Maihaja, stated that the agency had commenced moves to prevent the continued recurrence of flood across the country.

This, he said, was through early preparedness, mitigation and flood prevention mechanism.

Maihaja stated this in Abuja at an interactive session with stakeholders to map out a plan of action ahead of the rainy season.

He said, “In order to address future flood in the country, the agency in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment made a joint presentation to the National Economic Council on July 19 last year.

“The council noted and considered the need to set in motion plans and procedures to prevent or mitigate future floods.”

Maihaja stated that consequently, the council agreed that a federal coordinating unit should be set up to identify locations for critical actions, as well as carry out immediate measures on the identified areas within a short period of time.

He noted that for projects that had been identified, the cost would be shared in a way that the Federal Government would handle 30 percent; state government, 30 percent; and Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation, 40 percent, as well as the joint supervision of the project.

The NEMA boss explained that “annually, devastating floods of remarkable magnitude result in the damage of properties and loss of lives,” adding that about 20 percent of the population was at the risk of one flood situation or another.

Maihaja stated that some of the factors responsible for annual flooding include siltation of stream, human manipulation of existing drainage barriers, underdevelopment of drainage channels, excessive rainfall, tree felling, urban planning problems and weakening dams.

On Tuesday, it was reported that the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency declared that there was a need for more smaller dams in strategic locations across the country in order to prevent flooding when the rainy season begins.

The Director-General, NIHSA, Clement Nze, had stated that “most of us are advocating that let Nigeria dam the tributaries of major rivers by building small dams instead of large massive dams in order to check flooding . For instance, we have the Kashimbilla dam on River Katsina which was primarily built to address the problem of a lake in Cameroon.

“If we can build small dams within the tributaries of River Benue and do proper monitoring, it will go a long way to address any catastrophe coming from River Benue.” Punch

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