Niger–Benue Floods : UNICEF Warns FEMA to Brace for 500,000 Homeless People


Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has warned the FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to prepare for a humanitarian crisis which could render as many as 500,000 people without homes in three local government areas of the Federal Capital Territory by next month, when Rivers Niger and Benue are projected to overflow their banks.

The startling projection was made by UNICEF emergency specialist, Dr Soji Adeniyi, on Monday at the stakeholders’ meeting to activate the emergency response plans for critical agencies about the impending flood to which all relevant weather forecasting and hydrological agencies have alerted the country. Several dwellers withing the flood plains have asked to relocate to safer and higher ground.

Adeniyi said that flood could be worst than the one that occurred in 2012, resulting in cholera, malnutrition, collapse of bridges and road network, disruption of farmlands, livestock and epidemic among the people living along the river ways and the flood plains.

He called for a National Flood Preparedness Plan that will ensure readiness of states considered high risk from the flooding.

The Director General of Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency(NIHSA), Basir Magashi, while giving the 2016 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) report for the country, warned that the flooding occasioned by high rainfall and in flow of tributaries on the Benue, could impact the population in local government areas of the FCT. The high risk areas are Gwagwalada, Kwali and Kuje.

Further details later