KILLER FLOODS EVERYWHERE: States fret as 108 die in Kebbi, Kano, Jigawa, Imo, others

Man from south newly relocated

…Fears in S/West, S/South, S/East

…Residents fail to relocate

…NEMA: Agric, health, transport, water resources, infrastructure threatened

By Dayo Johnson, Vincent Ujumadu, Samuel Oyadongha, Omeiza Ajayi, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Demola Akinyemi Shina Abubakar, Deola Badru, Ozioruva Aliu, James Ogunnaike, Emma Una, Umar Yusuf, Egufe Yafughborhi, Bashir Bello, Ibrahim Hassan Wuyo and Chinonso Alozie

Despite the warning by the Nigeria Hydrological Survey Agency, NHSA, that the nation would experience deadly floods from September to October, findings by Sunday Vanguard revealed that flood-prone states have done little to ensure that residents are protected against imminent disaster.

The agency had, in its 2020 Annual Flood Outlook, AFO, report, in May, said 102 Local Government Areas, LGAs, in 28 states, were at the risk of flooding.

The LGAs identified include those in Rivers, Cross River, Delta, Bayelsa, Edo (all in the South-South), Lagos, Ondo, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti (all in the South-West), Sokoto, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi (all in the North-West), Kogi, Niger, Benue, Nasarawa (North Central), Gombe, Adamawa, Borno (North East), Ebonyi, Abia, Anambra, Imo states (South-East) and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

On the heels of that, the National Emergency Agency, NEMA, in July, identified 275 LGAs in 36 states including the FCT as being at risk.

The agency said the floods would have impact on agriculture, water resources, health, transport and infrastructure.

Consequently, NEMA said it had written to inform all state governors on the need for proactive measures.

Already, states like Niger, Kebbi and Borno are experiencing the deadly impacts of flooding as lives and property have been lost.

Deaths

No fewer than 108 people have been killed by flood in 12 states and the FCT since July this year.

Most of the fatalities were found to have occurred this month.

Specifically, 24 deaths were recorded in Jigawa; Zamfara, 15; Kano, 7; Bauchi, 6; Kaduna, 5; FCT, 5; Niger, 11; Kebbi, 11; Lagos, 2; Kwara, 3; Kogi, 1, Imo, 1, and Sokoto, 17.

So bad was the situation in Kebbi that President Muhammadu Buhari expressed concern over the heavy floods that took lives, submerged hectares of farmlands and houses, destroyed farm produce and personal belongings.

In Kogi, 70 communities have been sacked while thousands were rendered homeless.

Sunday Vanguard learnt that apart from the usual relocation advisory, much has not been done across the states.

Key measures like improved drainages, building dikes and levees, correction of infractions on town planning and channeling water properly were found to have been rarely done.

Residents of flood-prone areas, on their part, have failed to heed the warning of relocating to upland areas.

LAGOS: ‘Residents of lowland areas must relocate’

Lagos State government has urged residents to avoid loss of lives as the state is expected to experience heavy rainfall from this month.

NIMET predicted that Lagos would experience 240-270 days of rainfall while the maximum Annual Rainfall is predicted to be 1, 750mm.

The state Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, while speaking on preparations for resumed rainfalls in the state, said as part of proactive measures, the state government directed residents in high prone areas, such as Aboyi Ketu, Agiliti, Kosofe, Ajegunle, Owode Onirin, Isheri North, to relocate whenever it rains to avoid loss of lives.

To mitigate the negative impacts on residents, the state government said it had begun work on more than 200 secondary channels with over 80 percent in various stages of completion.

46 primary channels are receiving various forms of attention.

According to Bello, “this is in addition to the gigantic efforts of our Emergency Flood Abatement Gangs (EFAG) that are being deployed around the state to undertake quick fix to free manholes or clogged up drains manually.

“Instructively, while states like Ogun and Ekiti suffer from urban and river flooding, Lagos is at the receiving end of three types: Coastal, urban and river flooding because of the peculiarity of its location.

“One of the new measures put in place to combat flash flooding is the provision of pumping stations with a pilot one being planned for Ilubirin in Lagos Island.”

Lagos State government further asked those living in the areas considered as flood-prone to consider relocating.

The places include Ayobo, Aboru in Ipaja, Surulere, Bariga, Anifowoshe, Ikeja, Ijesha, Meiran, Ajasa Command Road in Agbado-Okeodo, Alagbole, Isheri in Berger area, parts of Agege, Ojodu, Okun-Ajah, Lekki Peninsula, Ogba, Oshodi, Iyana-Ipaja, Owode, Badiya, Aboru, Iwaya, Arowojobe in Maryland, Ajegunle, Elede, Ajegunle, Owode-Onirin, Kuramo Beach, Oke Afa, Ejigbo and Bucknor area in Ejigbo, Others are Maza Maza, Ijegun Isheri, Agbado, Akut, Ikoyi, and Victoria Island, particularly Ahmadu Bello Way. Also, Special Adviser to the Governor on Drainage and Water Resources, Joe Igbokwe, maintained that the effort to contain flood was the responsibility of everyone and not left to government alone.

He urged residents to collaborate with government by cleaning the drainages and desisting from indiscriminate dumping of refuse.

ONDO: $5m counterpart funding, Operation Flush

Flooding is a major issue in Ondo State as some communities in riverine areas of Ilaje were already submerged before the COVID-19 lockdown.

Sunday Vanguard discovered that to avert disaster, the state government, introduced a flood control measure called Operation Flush.

The aim is to have proper channelization of water in flood-prone areas across the state. Drainages were also cleared.

Identified hotspots include Akure, Alade ldanre, Ogbese, Ayetoro, Akungba, riverine communities in Ese-Odo, and Ondo town, among others.

Disclosing measure put in place, the state Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Funso Esan, in a chat with Sunday Vanguard, said the World Bank released $5million for the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, NEWMAP, to ensure that people living in erosion and flood prone areas are safe.

Also, three excavators were deployed to each of the three senatorial zones to tackle flood.

According to Esan, “We have planned our activities since January by procuring an Amphibious Excavator to do channelization. A MAP programme was sponsored by the World Bank before COVID-19 to procure two additional excavators to cover the three senatorial districts. The three excavators would be deployed to each of the three senatorial areas.

“We have relocated many of our people. The World Bank released funds recently for the prevention of flood in Ayetoro in llaje area where sea incursion had claimed 75 percent of the communities’ landmass, submerged its primary, secondary and technical schools, wiped off over 2, 000 buildings and crippled the economy of the people.”

OSUN: Rivers dredged in LGAs

In Osun State, NHSA listed 15 LGAs among those to be affected by the flood.

Meanwhile, the state government, in a bid to avert disaster, last month, commenced the dredging of rivers and clearing of waterways in the state.

The dredging exercise, flagged-off at Ijetu stream in Osogbo will be extended to all the identified communities across 18 flood-prone LGAs across the state.

According to the Special Adviser to Governor Adegboyega Oyetola on Environment and Sanitation, Rufus Oyagbile, other rivers the state would dredge with the collaboration of LGA chairmen.

The rivers include Opopo River, Osun River, Stream 264, Rasco Stream, Shehushehu in Osogbo and Olorunda Council areas.

Others slated for dredging are Opa, in Ife-Central LGA, Esinmirin in Ilesa West, Iba River in Iwo and Yemoja Mogimogi in Isokan among others.

On the warning that residents in flood-prone areas should be relocated, the state government has not taken any measure to that effect.

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According to the AFO report, Ila LGA was identified as a highly probable flood risk area. It also named 14 other LGAs which include Ayedire, Ede North, Ede South, Egbedore, Ifelodun, Ilesha West, Irepodun, Isokan, Iwo, Odo-Otin, Olaoluwa, Olorunda, Orolu and Osogbo respectively.

As of press time, no resident in Ila has been relocated.

In areas like Gbonmi, Alabameta, Rasco, Oke Arungbo, Ogo-Oluwa, Ijetu, residents of houses submerged by the flood have returned, hoping the rains would not be much as predicted by NHSA.

Similarly, in places like Ife, Iwo, Ikire Ifon, Ilobu, no directive has been given to residents.

EKITI: Dredging to be extended to 16 LGAs

In a chat, Ekiti State Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Princess Iyabo Fakunle-Okieme, told Sunday Vanguard that dredging of waterways and desilting of drainages in the state capital would be extended to all the 16 LGAs.

Fakunle-Okieme said government had approached the World Bank for assistance to enable it take further steps on the prevention of flooding.

According to her, “our government is quite aware of the menace of flooding and we cannot pretend not to know, but as a serious government, we have continued to do the needful.

“We owe our people the duty to provide a safe and conducive environment for them and that I can assure you this government will not toy with. “Despite the ongoing dredging which has reached Ikere, Balemo in Ado and many more rivers, we have also embarked on awareness on the need for our people to stop blocking waterways with refuse.

“My ministry has also submitted a proposal to the World Bank on the need to also support us because fighting flood requires resources.”

OGUN: Structures on waterways for demolition

Prior to the July 4, 2020, torrential rainfall that wreaked havoc in Abeokuta and some other parts of the state, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State had directed all relevant government agencies to swing into action to mitigate the effect of flood.

The state Commissioner for Environment, Abiodun Abudu-Balogun, told Sunday Vanguard that his ministry swung into action immediately by dredging some rivers and clearing canals in the state.

According to him, some of the rivers dredged and canals cleared include Eriwe Fish Farm in Ijebu Ode, Igile Canal, Ogun Waterside, Onihale in Ifo, Mosafejo in Ota, and Sokori in Abeokuta and Adiyan in Ifo.

Other ministries like the Ministry of Works and Ministry of Physical Planning are working to mitigate the impact of floods.

About 11 flood-prone spots were identified in Abeokuta alone for further dredging.

They include Isale- Igbeyin, Amolaso, Abule-Oloni, Abule-Otun, Alogi, Gbonagun, Isale-Oja-Kuto, Ijaye-Gbangba, Ago-Ijesa, Abiola Way, Ijeja, and Igbore.

“As we speak, we have completed the dredging of all the identified rivers to about 80 percent. Only two locations are left and they would be completed in the next one or two weeks, ” Abudu-Balogun said.

The Ministry of Environment is moving to Oba Erinwole in Sagamu.

Aside from the dredging of rivers and clearing of canals, the state had embarked on desalting of drainages, gutters, and waterways throughout the state.

Also, the Yakoyo canal was found to have been cleared.

C/RIVER: 3, 000 to relocate from hot spots

Following the forecast by NHSA, Cross River State government has ordered about seven flood-prone communities inhabited by about three thousand people to relocate from their homes.

Director-General of Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Mr. Princewill Anyim, said: “Based on the NiMeT forecast on flooding which may occur in the state, Governor Ben Ayade has asked the Ministry of Lands to make lands available to communities that occupy flood-prone areas. These communities are Alesi and Osokora in Ofutop in Ikom LGA, Ovonum in Obubra LGA.

“The decision is in the interest of the people. They cannot resist because we cannot afford to witness a repeat of the 2012 devastating flood in the state.”

He said government will build permanent houses on the lands already earmarked for the people to serve as camp.

RIVERS: Agencies to work with LGAs

Nigerian Meteorological Services, NIMET and NHSA had barely released their 2020 flood forecasts when low- lying Bonny Island, the nation’s oil and gas hub, was hard hit by torrential rains in June.

The rains sacked several residents in the coastal community.

Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Paulinus Nsirim, was not forthcoming on enquiries on preparedness.

However, a top government functionary, who pleaded anonymity, said: “The state government will ensure residents of flood-prone areas vacate before the floods come.

“Ministries of Environment, Health, Special Duties, Information and Office of the Secretary to the Rivers State Government have been mandated to work with affected LGAs to mitigate the impact on Rivers people.

“The multi-stakeholders’ preparedness against flooding this year in Rivers has never been this proactive. There is now the Local Emergency Management Team at the LGAs to enhance prompt response.”

Meanwhile, South-South Zonal Head of NEMA, Walson Branden, said, “From the 2020 flood outlook, the highly probable flood risk areas are Degema, Asari-Toru and Akuku-Toru. Probable areas include Ahaoda-East, Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni, Oyigbo, Andoni, Etche, Ogu-Bolo, Ahaoda-West, Port Harcourt, Obio-Akpor, Gokana, Tai, Khana and Okrika LGAs.”

BAYELSA: 13 canals, others being cleared

Bayelsa, being the receptacle of the entire water from the upper Niger emptying into the sea, was the worst hit in 208 and 2012.

However, Sunday Vanguard discovered that the natural drains, which ordinarily could have soaked water away from the state capital into the creeks, rivers and rivulets, have been blocked due to indiscriminate dumping of waste.

Water channels have also been blocked.

However, Sunday Vanguard’s findings revealed that the state government is exploring several options.

Although officials of the government were not forthcoming on whether those residing in floodplains would be relocated as witnessed during the devastating 2012 and 2018 flood in which about two-thirds of the state went underwater, what is clear is that flood victims are often camped at the yet to be completed Ultra-Modern Motor Park and St John’s Catholic Church in Igbogene, the state Sports Complex and Bishop Dimieri Grammar School, Ovom.

ANAMBRA: Communities submerged, residents relocate

As far back as 2019, Anambra was listed among the states in the country to experience severe flooding in 2020.

The state was also among the worst hit during the 2012 disaster that affected many states in the country. Some of the affected communities then are still suffering the effect as their submerged houses are yet to be rebuilt.

Six LGAs namely, Ayamelum, Awka North, Anambra East, Anambra West, Ogbaru and Ihiala, experience flood annually.

For instance, some villages in four communities of Enugu Otu, Eziagulu Otu, Mkpunando and Umundeze, all in Anambra East, are already submerged and residents have relocated to the upland.

The same goes for villages in Anambra West and Ogbaru whose farmlands and household items worth millions of naira were also submerged.

To ensure that the situation did not get out of control, the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, started early enough to sensitize residents of flood-prone areas.

Specifically, they were informed to be ready to vacate their homes at very short notice for places prepared by the state government for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

ADAMAWA: Traditional beliefs hinder relocation calls

Of the 21 LGAs in the state, seven have been identified as flood-prone areas by NHSA and NEMA.

The LGAs are Lamurde, Shelleng, Numan, Guyuk, Demsa, Yola North, Yola South and Fufore. Consequently, a committee on flood has been constituted by government to ensure that when the flooding happens, its effect will be minimal.

The committee headed by the state Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Shuaibu Audu, has representatives of the ministries of Water Resources, Works, Land and Survey, Disaster Management, Office of the Surveyor-General and Urban Planning. Audu told Sunday Vanguard that a survey has been conducted on the flood-prone areas.

He, however, added that unless River Benue is dredged, flooding will continue to occur in the state.

According to him, “as far as the issue of yearly flooding is concerned in the state, the most important role government plays is sensitization. Government had to use diplomacy to convince the people to relocate to zones that are not under the threat of flooding. “Traditional beliefs and norms have been a problem with people as many of them prefer not to relocate no matter the threat to their lives and property.’’

OYO: Structures in 17 LGAs

Sunday Vanguard observed that various precautionary measures have been put in place by the administration of Governor Seyi Makinde to ensure the state is well prepared.

These measures include clearing of drainages, creating environmental awareness on the danger of flood, sorting of waste before disposal, construction of bridges and relocation of those in flood-prone areas.

Government has put in place ultramodern hydraulic structures in 17 different locations of the state to avert flooding in 11 LGAs.

The flashpoints are Ona Ara, Lagelu, Oyo East, Kajola, Egbeda, Ogbomoso South, Iseyin, Ibarapa North, Ibadan South-West, Ibadan North-West and Ibadan South-East.

Speaking recently during an on-the-spot assessment at a flood-ravaged part of the state, Makinde said: “We’ll also remove structures on our waterways. At the main road at Olodo, some people already moved out of their houses. Government will enumerate such properties and relocate those people. ”

KANO: 5, 000 houses destroyed

No fewer than 20 out of 44 LGAs are classified as high-risk areas.

The LGAs include Tarauni, Garun Malam, Rimin Gado, Gaya, Gezawa, Gwale, Shanono and Gabasawa.

Other areas include Gwarzo, Ungoggo, Warawa, Dawakin Kudu, Dambatta, Bebeji, Kano, Wudil, Kura, Nasarawa, Kano Municipal and Kumbotso.

As things stand, places like Rimin Gado, Tofa and recently Dambatta among others have already started to experience the disaster.

Many have been displaced people, others died while properties were destroyed.

A lawmaker representing Dambatta Constituency in Kano State House of Assembly, Murtala Musa, said no fewer than 5, 000 houses have been destroyed.

KADUNA: Evacuation to higher grounds

In Kaduna, flooding in many communities within and outside the state capital has, over the years, become a yearly occurrence.

Concerned authorities did not relent in warning those living in flood prone areas to relocate to safer locations.

A few days ago, after a downpour in Kaduna, the state government warned residents living in flood prone areas to relocate.

Residents of Barnawa, Ungwan Rimi, Kigo Road New Extension, Trikaniya, Ramat Road in Unguwan Rimi, Rafin Guza and parts of Malali, among others, were asked to relocate.

Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency, Maimunatu Abubakar, said: “Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency is urging all residents living within flood prone areas, to be on red alert for possible flooding.”

IMO: Perennial flooding

Areas that usually experience perennial flooding include Douglas Road, Wethdral, Chukwuma Nwaoha. MCC Road, Egbu Road, Tetlow, Dick Tiger Road, Relief Market, Okigwe Road, Assumpta Avenue, Methodist Junction, Mbari Street, Item Street and Aba Road.

However, Sunday Vanguard learnt that much is not being done to control flooding in oil producing communities in Ohaji/Egbema LGA. Last Tuesday, one Mr. Bennet Aguhasi, was swept away by flood in Obi Ohia in Ideato South LGA.

EDO: Shaky steps

In 2019, no fewer than 35 communities were ravaged by flood and majority of the communities were in three LGAs. The affected areas are Etsako Central, Etsako East and Esan South East LGAs.

These councils have communities along the bank of River Niger.

To avoid a repeat, the state government asked residents to heed the warning of NEMA and NHSA.

Special Adviser to Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, who spoke to journalists in Benin City, urged residents to heed the agencies warning.

He said: “To mitigate the impact of this natural disaster that may affect us in Edo State, all hands must be on deck.

“Some sites which have been completed to mitigate flooding in the state include Oshiobugie Flood and Gully Erosion plain, Auchi; Queen Ede Flood and Gully Erosion plain, Benin City and Ekehuan Road Gully/West Moat Flood and Gully Erosion catchment, Benin City, among others.”

Vanguard

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