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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Expect more river flooding- FG warns states, LGs

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The Federal Government has warned states and local government areas to brace up for increased river flooding as the country enters the peak of the rainy season.

Prof. Joseph Utsev, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, handed down the warning at a news conference on Thursday in Abuja.

He said that precautionary measures should be taken to avert possible disasters from such occurrence.

Utsev said states had been alerted following recent reports highlighted in the 2024 Annual Flood Outlook as unveiled by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA).

He said state governors had been provided with detailed forecasts and preventative measures specific to their regions.

According to him, significant flood risks have been identified in 148 local government areas across 31 states, including Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom and Anambra.

The outlook, divided into three scenarios, indicated heightened flood risks from April to November, with the most severe flooding expected between July and September.

“Over ten states and the FCT have already experienced varying levels of flooding since April, resulting in casualties and property damage.

“Notable incidents include the flooding in Trademore Estate, FCT, which led to two deaths and significant property loss,” he said.

Utsev noted the need for states and local government areas to intensify flood prevention measures, such as clearing blocked drainage systems, relocating residents from flood-prone areas and constructing flood barriers.

He said river flooding was expected from major rivers like Niger and Benue, urging continuous monitoring and proactive measures.

The minister said that increased rainfall could exacerbate the ongoing cholera outbreak, which had caused 63 deaths and 2,102 suspected cases.

He said that a presidential committee had been constituted to address cholera and other waterborne diseases linked to flooding.

Utsev said a realigned 2023 flood report had led to the formation of a new committee, chaired by Vice President Kashim Shettima, to address broader disaster management issues, including erosion and desertification.

He said that the committee had submitted its report which had been approved by the National Economic Council, with implementation strategies set to commence shortly.

He added that the Clean Nigeria Use the Toilet campaign and the activation of national laboratories were part of comprehensive measures to enhance public health and sanitation.

Mr Clement Nze, Director General of NIHSA, underscored the Federal Government’s advisory role, noting that enforcement and local action fell under states’ jurisdiction.

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