18 States on red alert, as flood kills 15, displaces over 16,000 in one week

Flooded communities

Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Joseph Terlumun Utsev, have raised the alarm that18 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) may be adversely affected in the coming days.

Flood alert

No fewer than 15 persons have reportedly lost their lives due to the widespread flooding experienced across the country within the last seven days. Several properties, including houses, cars and other valuables were destroyed by the disturbing disaster.

Recall that on June 24, the popular Trademore Estate, Abuja, was submerged following a sustained torrential rainfall that led to the death of two residents. Apart from many houses almost completely destroyed, the flood, which overflowed the estate canal, also swept away several cars.

In Yobe State alone, about 30 communities were destroyed on July 1st when heavy downpour was experienced in the area, leading to the death of about nine persons. The State Emergency Management Agency, (SEMA), while confirming the ugly incident, revealed that over 10,845 individuals across 12 LGAs of Yunusari, Nguru, Nangere, Gujba, Damaturu, Fika, Bade, Bursari, Yusufari, Geidam, Machina and Karasuwa were affected by the floodings.

In Lagos, movements were restricted on Wdnesday, while economic activities were crippled in Lagos State due to the persistent rainfall that caused unexpected flooding in many parts of the State. It was more worrisome in some residential areas in Ibeju-Lekki and other strategic locations where thousands of residents were unfortunately displaced.

It was gathered that some of the worst affected areas included: Epe, Eredo, Bogije, Labora, Abijon, Sangotedo, Awoyaya and Ibeju-Lekki.

A primary six pupil was reportedly swept away by the flood in the Ikosi-Ketu area of Lagos. Also, seven occupants, including a one-year-old baby girl, were rescued alive from a collapsed two-storey building at the Mushin area of the State, following the heavy downpour.

Similarly, the Lagos State Police Command on Thursday confirmed that a yet-to-be-identified 61-year-old man lost his life after being electrocuted during the flood incident.

Flooded communities2

Tension was heightened on Thursday, when the Federal Government placed at least 18 States, including the FCT, on red alert over possible severe flooding expected from the end of July 2024.

Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Joseph Terlumun Utsev, who raised the alarm while addressing reporters in Abuja, said Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Rivers and Taraba, as well as the FCT may be adversely affected in the coming days.

According to the Minister, from the end of July, the country might start experiencing river flooding, which might be more devastating than the current situation. He said river flooding was expected from major rivers like the Niger and Benue, urging continuous monitoring and pro-active measures.

The recurring cases of flooding in the country have raised concerns among stakeholders, who lamented that the Federal and State governments failed to be pro-active in tackling the menace.

Flooded communities3

Recall that in 2022, over 662 Nigerians lost their lives to flood across the country. According to the National Emergency Management Agency, (NEMA), 662 people were killed, while 2,430,445 others were displaced. About 3,174 people also suffered various degrees of injuries during the flood disaster.

In 2023, the NEMA said over 45 Nigerians died, while 171,545 persons were displaced as a result of widespread flooding experienced across the country. However, despite the warnings and previous cases recorded, Nigeria was still caught unprepared in 2024.

Head, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), Emmanuel Onwubiko, told newsmen on Saturday that it is not enough for the Government to alert Nigerians of imminent danger of flooding, urging both the Federal and the State governments to take proactive actions.

He said, “Environmental issues like flooding are things that are even beyond the government. The only thing is that the government needs to be ready for remediation and rescue if it happens eventually.

“The Government should be able to evacuate people from the flood-prone areas. Telling Nigerians that there is going to be flooding in 31 states is not enough.

“Sometimes the Government needs to force these residents to move out of the danger areas. Some people may not want to leave willingly because it is their ancestral home. The Federal Government should provide ecological funds that will resettle victims of flooding in the country”.

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