Evacuate Immediately, NEMA Tells Communities on Bank of River Niger

  • Warns repeat of 2012 flood disaster likely

Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

In response to intense rainfall and rise in water level, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has advised communities along the River Niger to evacuate immediately to safer ground over the likelihood of floods that may occur at any moment.

The Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani Sidi, who raised the alarm in a statement yesterday, said the agency had received alerts of the flood from information given by the authorities in the Republic of Niger that the present water level in the river had reached a point that might result in the flood that could be compared with the unfortunate experience of 2012.

Sidi said that, “Niger Basin Authority (NBA) notified Nigeria that rainy season, which started in the Middle Niger (Burkina Faso and Niger Republic) in June, 2016, has led to a gradual rise of the level of River Niger in Niamey, Niger Republic.

“This high level of water in Niger Republic is already spreading to Benin Republic, and invariably, to Nigeria”.
He further said that the level of water in all the hydrological monitoring stations across the country as at Friday, August 5, 2016, have already exceeded the corresponding values at that time, which is an alarming situation that requires the prompt and coordinated action of all governments and stakeholders.

According to him, “if the heavy rainfall continues in intensity and duration within these regions of the River Niger, it is imminent that flood situation similar to that of the year 2012 may occur.”
Against this backdrop, the NEMA boss called on all stakeholders to take necessary actions in line with their various mandates.

Sidi said the states and local government were to ensure observance with the threat in order to avert imminent loss of lives and properties that might certainly arise in the event of flood .
He identified the states along the river Niger belts as being the most vulnerable as well as those along its major tributaries that includes Benue river belts , the confluence states and downstream to the Atlantic Coast.

The agency’s Zonal and Operation offices, he said, had been instructed to continue with advocacy visit to the state governments and also urged the state to utilise the flood vulnerability maps given to them earlier by NEMA to identify safer ground for temporary shelters in time of evacuation as well as reviewing all their contingency plans.

The 2012 flood disaster, which started in July and ended in October, killed 363 people and displaced 2.1 million people, was described as the worst in about 50 years. According to NEMA, the flood affected 7.7 million people across 30 of the 36 states of Nigeria and caused damages and loss totalling N2.6 trillion.

Following the flood disaster, donations and humanitarian services poured in from institutions and individuals.
President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, donated N200 million to victims of flood in Nigeria’s Kogi state. The donation was made of N50 million food items and N150 million cash, a total of $1,250,000.