Deadly Floods: NEMA Seeks Urgent Evacuation Of Communities Along River Niger

Flooded LokojaThe National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has said that due to intense rainfall and rises in water level, there is need for an urgent evacuation of communities along the River Niger to safer ground over the likelihood of floods that may occur at any moment from now.

The Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi, who gave the advice on Saturday, said the agency received alerts of the flood from information given by 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.

“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”, the NEMA boss said.

According to Mr. Sani-Sidi, the level of water in all the hydrological monitoring stations across the country, as at Friday, August 5, had already reached alarming values requiring prompt and coordinated action of all governments and stakeholders.

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“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”, he was quoted as warning in a statement issued by NEMA’s Head of Media and Public Relations, Mr. Sani Datti.

The director general then called on all stakeholders to take necessary actions in line with their various mandates.

The states and local government are 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 said.

He also urged the states to utilize 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.

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.

NEMA’s Zonal and Operation offices, he said, have been instructed to continue with advocacy visit to state governments.