NIHSA DG to Nigerians: Brace up for more floods

Vehicles and houses submerged by flood recently in Ogun State

By Patricia Amogu

The Director-General, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Mr Clement Nze, has warned Nigerians to brace up for more floods.

He said the country could experience more flooding because of a combination of climate change factors, population growth, urbanisation, economic development and poor drainage systems.

Nze made the disclosure on Friday while making a presentation at a webinar organised by the Nigerian Institution of Water Engineers.

He explained that changes in climate precipitation, river change flow regime and rise in sea level would increase the likelihood of floods in the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the paper presentation had the theme: “Overview of 2021 Annual flood Outlook (AFO): Update on Flooding Situation in The Country.”

The webinar attracted more than 100 participants, including experts and key players in the water sector who looked at the causes, mitigation measures, flood forecasting and management. Thy also made recommendations.

“As the rainy season advances, more states in the country have started experiencing floods; this agrees with the flood scenarios presented in the 2021 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO).

“Some of the states that have already experienced floods in 2021 are Lagos, Taraba, Ekiti, Kwara, Ondo and Delta and which were accompanied by heavy rainfalls and strong winds.

“The Lagos situation is made worse by the rising sea level from Arctic ice melting in the last decade.

“However, this is not peculiar to Nigeria alone, but the world over. In July alone, Europe, Germany, and Belgium are reported to have experienced intense rainstorms swelling streams that have washed away houses and vehicles, triggering massive landslides,” he said.

Nze stated that NIHSA had made efforts towards improving flood forecasting and management through the publication of the Annual Flood Outlook (AFO).

He said the public was engaged on flood sensitisation workshops, updating hydrological database and improving on the hydrological modelling system.

“Installation of Flood Early Warning and Alerts System, at some identified flood hotspots around the country; publication of monthly flood and drought monitor, staff training, and improving synergy among the relevant government agencies mitigate flood disasters in the country.

He added that legislation enforcement and review of environmental Laws, enforcement and review of housing, land use, urban and regional planning rules and regulations were urgent measures needed to be taken into consideration to control the risk of further flooding in the country.

NAN reports that those in attendance included, Prof. Salihu Mustafa, former Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Yola.

Many professional bodies, including the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Nigerian Association of Hydrological Sciences (NAHS) and the Nigerian Association of Hydro-geologists were represented.