The widespread flooding in Nigeria has become a national concern, as residents in over 16 states have had their lives disrupted. One of the country’s most prevalent problems is lives and properties being threatened by the worst flooding case that has ravaged the country in a decade. Recall in 2012, Nigeria was reported to have lost N2.6 trillion, with over 7 million people displaced, an estimated 600,000 houses destroyed, and another 363 people killed. The recent flood cases, caused by the heavy rainfall and the release of excess water from the Cameroonian dam have raised much concern as to the safety of the residents affected by this rampage.
Although this issue is a recurring one that continues to plague Nigeria, it has been at its absolute worse this year. This rampage, according to government officials has reportedly left over 1.4 million Nigerians displaced, with 500 people dead. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, the permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development stated that the flood has also impacted 1,546 injured casualties, destroyed 70,566 hectares of farmlands and damaged 45,249 houses.
Landsat 9 revealed major swellings of the Niger and Benue rivers.
Satellite imagery from Landsat 9 revealed major swellings of the River Niger and Benue in southern Nigeria, where NASA indicated that floodwaters inundated numerous communities. At the convergence point of the rivers, the imagery showed floodwaters overwhelming Lokoja, the capital of Kogi State. According to NASA’s report, this flooding continued to the south with a noticeable extensive spread in southern Kogi and the Northern parts of Anambra State. 76 people were reported to have drowned in Anambra last week after their boat capsized while trying to escape the flood. In states like Kogi and Anambra, floodwaters have risen to to rooftops, leaving over 600,000 people without shelters.
Chiamaka Ibeanu, a registered nurse who resides in the Onitsha area of Anambra stated that this situation has been so saddening to witness. She said that people, regardless of their economic statuses, have been immensely reduced as a result of the displacement. She disclosed that her family, who resides at Ossomari and Atani have also become victims of displacement due to their houses being submerged. She complained about most of her family’s possessions being in ruins.
Grema urged communities to adhere to climate prediction warnings.
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) have long predicted imminent flooding since the beginning of the rainy season which runs from April through to October. These agencies had also indicated that parts of the country would witness an increased rainfall, paired with the release of excess water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon which would catalyze the heavy flooding, as they foresaw an increase in Nigeria’s water volume.
Nigeria’s Director of Humanitarian Affairs, Alhaji Ali Grema noted that these disasters were recognizably local and this, communities must learn to take note of climate predictions and flood outlook warnings. Sani-Gwarzo again stated that this flooding situation was similar to the last major experience in 2012, where at least 30 of 36 states were overtly affected by the flooding. Sadiya Umar, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, in his statement, also pointed that the level of devastation caused by this flood could only be compared to the 2012 situation.
Food scarcity predicted for next year due to flood sweeping away farms.
However, while Nigeria’s National policy Document on Climate Change, published in 2020 indicated that with the increase of flood in recent years, climate change is expected to increase the intensity of severe weather events, most states in Nigeria have not been able to accrue the necessary infrastructures for adequately responding to these challenges. The country is predicted by numerous experts to experience food scarcity next year due to the flood sweeping away numerous farms and produces. The Humanitarian Affairs Ministry however disclosed that the Federal Government has been working to ensure the provision of relief materials to these affected communities.
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