Charity Nwakaudu Abuja
Ahead of the raining season, the Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency (NIHSA) has predicted more intense flooding.
Director General of the agency, Mr Clement Nze, who made the disclosure when he briefed newsmen on the 2020 flooding season in Abuja, yesterday, admonished Nigerians to make adequate preparation to avoid loss of lives and property.
Last years, flash floods hit at least 124 local government areas across the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory – Abuja (FCT) and affected 210,117 people with 171 casualties and 130,610 people reportedly displaced.
He called on all state governments, stakeholders, multi-national companies and the general public to construct drainage to prevent flooding across the country.
He said flooding incidents had led to loss of lives, property, disruption of economic activities and loss of several hectares of agricultural lands across the country.
According to him, this is the appropriate time to build dredges, river channels, clear blocked gutters and drainage.
“This is also the right time to pull down structures that are within the flooding plains and flood paths, this dry season is a reasonable and better time to do that before the rains set in,’’ he said.
Nze said Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), on its Seasonal Rainfall Prediction made available recently recorded that South-south areas would start experiencing rainfall on February 24.
“The northern states of the country will experience rainfall from June 22. The respective predicted cessation date for south-south is December 28, while northern parts are September 26.
“This implies that Nigeria is likely to experience longer period of rainy season in 2020, compared to 2019. This however does not automatically translate to more flooding incidents.’’
The director general said NIHSA was the most active and visible agency in the prediction and issuance of flood early warning alerts in the country.
Nze said flooding were caused by high intensity rainfall of long duration, inadequate drainage of low lying areas, human activities and increasing global population, among others.
“It is believed that flooding will continue to persist as long as expanding activities of man also continue.
“Therefore, there is the need to control human activities, environmental adjustment and purposefully adopting actions in certain areas that will make the adjustment possible.’’
Nze said NIHSA had the responsibility of monitoring all the major rivers in the country, including the trans-boundary Rivers Niger and Benue.
“The agency does this through the establishment of automatic hydro-meteorological stations which measures several parameters on the rivers from where long-term data are acquired and archived for accurate prediction of various phenomena.’’
He said that the agency would be presenting the 2020 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) to the public very soon.
He, however, warned Nigerians to heed to the flood predictions as well as adhering to the necessary measures put in place to prevent loss of lives and property.
NiMet has also predicted flight delays and cancellations in year 2020 due to extreme weather conditions.
NiMet said activities accompanied with onset and cessation of the rainy season such as squall lines, thunderstorms, wind shear, microburst, flash floods could flood the runways.
“Additionally, dust haze during the Harmattan season could result in poor visibility which also leads to disruption of flight operations.
“Therefore, aviation stakeholders should take precautionary measures especially during the onset and cessation of rainfall for smooth and safe operations,“ it said.