Flood has killed 29 people in 99 local government areas across 30 states this year, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has disclosed.
The Director-General of the agency, Mr. Moses Oluwatoyin Beckley, said at a “Sensitisation Workshop on 2016 Flood Prediction, Prevention and Mitigation Hydrological Area,” in Lokoja, Kogi State yesterday that 34 states would be affected by flooding in the high-risk flood zones.
According to Beckley, “We categorise it into three: the high-risk areas, the lower risk areas and of course, the least probable.”
The NIHSA chief lamented that despite all the series of alerts by the agency, people are still “stuck to their old ways.”
Beckley explained that while the agency is not canvassing the wholesale jettisoning of culture, the effects of climate change and other contending issues must not be overlooked.
He said that on July 25 this year, NIHSA came out with the annual flood and outlook, taking into consideration the seasonal rainfall position.
Others considerations, Beckley said, were their historical data and the topography, the vegetation, or the ecological zones in the country, as well as the two major rivers and the tributaries in the country and the geomorphology factors too.
“Now we took all these into consideration and also applied two models and the geospatial stream flow model as well as the Soil Water Analysis Tool (SWAT) to come up with what we might experience for the year in terms of flooding,” he said.
He passionately appealed to Nigerians, including those inhabiting flood-prone areas, to allow ‘change to begin with me’ prevail under the circumstance.
The Coordinator of New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Kogi State, Tom Eneji Alih said more sensitisation campaign is necessary, particularly in the hinterlands, to avert another flood disaster in other states.
“I want to plead that this programme should equally be taken to the rural areas where more than 99 per cent of the past disaster was experienced; places like Ankle and Ibaji, where lives were lost and property destroyed,” he said.
The state Commissioner for Water Resources, Salami Ozigi, and his counterpart in the Ministry of Environment, expressed appreciation to the agency for making the state its first point of call, admitting, “as we all know, Kogi State is very prone to flood.”