Late rain may cause serious flooding – FG

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The impending gradual release of excess water from Lagdo Dam in Cameroon and heavy rain expected in coming months may result in massive flooding across the country soon, the Federal Government hassaid.This poses a serious threat to lives and property in Nigeria. The various floods to be experienced include river flooding, coastal flooding and flash flooding.The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mrs. Nana Mede,said the government was deeply concerned about the likely loss of lives and properties as well as other negative environmental consequences which the floods might bring.Mede, who spoke during a press briefing at the ministry’s headquarters on Monday in Abuja, stated that it had become pertinent for citizens living along flood plains to prepare for relocation to areas considered to be safe and remain on the alert for any eventuality.She said, “The impending gradual release of excess water from Lagdo Dam byour neighbouring country, Cameroon, which they have hinted could take place any time soon and the rains in the coming months pose serious threats to lives and property. The states that are likely to be affected are Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe, Bauchi, Benue and Kogi.“On a general scale, the massive rains are also expected to cause flooding in many parts of the country. River flooding will affect Sokoto, Niger, Benue and Anambra states. Coastal flooding resulting from sea level rise and tidal surges may occur in Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta and Lagos states.“Flash floods could be experienced in some urban locations such as Lagos, Port Harcourt, Sokoto, Birnin Kebbi, Ibadan and other towns along the country’s coastline.”The government urged people living in the areas to immediately clear their drainage, culverts and canals.Mede observed that earlier in the year, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency made predictions that the rain would come late, adding that it would be massive and could be disastrous in terms of environmental impact such as flooding with its attendant consequences of loss of lives, properties, livelihoods, outbreak of diseases and disruptions of socio-economic activities.She said, “Furthermore, the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency has also presented the 2015 Annual Flood Outlook for the country to the public and it also confirms that there is every possibility of flooding.“The ministry is therefore appealing to states, local governments, NGOs, churches, mosques, traditional rulers and community based organisations to take immediate steps to sensitise the people and communities as well as ensure that all the necessary things are done to avoid unnecessary loss of lives and property.“In extreme cases, state governments and local authorities should prepare to evacuate residents. Public places should be designated and prepared for any eventuality. The ministry has already called for emergency meeting of stakeholders to discuss on elaborate strategies for tackling the impending flood.”The Federal Government, in 2012, spent over N17bn in tackling floods across the country, while about 360 lives were lost and properties worth billions of naira were destroyed.

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