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Agency raises flood alarm in seven states

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• Expert forecasts 400 fire incidents in Abia

Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has warned Nigerians living by the banks of River Niger and its floodplains to immediately relocate over imminent flooding.The agency gave the warning yesterday in Abuja in a statement signed by its director of Engineering Hydrology, Clement Nze.

Nze named the vulnerable states as Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Kogi, Anambra, Delta and Bayelsa.He said the middle Niger portion of the Niger basin (Niger Republic) experienced high flows last week with the flood advancing into the Lower Niger (Nigeria).

NIHSA noted that both Kainji and Jebba dams were already spilling over downstream with the level of water in Lokoja downstream of the confluence standing at 8.69m.“This value has exceeded the corresponding value of 8.57m that occurred on August 29, 2012,” he said.

In a related development, the agency said the flooding in Kaduna on August 23 and 24 had started arriving Shiroro Dam built on River Kaduna.“In the event that Shiroro Dam equally starts spilling water, it will portend more danger downstream.”

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NIHSA’s Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) for the 36 states released in May projected that Sokoto, Niger, Benue, Anambra, Ogun, Osun, Cross River and Yobe states would have high risks of river flooding.

It also indicated that Lagos, Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta and Ondo states might experience coastal flooding.The agency attributed this to a likely rise in the sea level and tidal surge.

Meanwhile, Abia State Fire Service said the state would record about 400 fire disasters this year.The fire service comptroller, Victor Gbaruko, announced this during a workshop in Umuahia organised by the Owerri operations office of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). It is on strengthening the role of stakeholders in disaster management.
Gbaruko, who disclosed that more than 150 fire disasters had already occurred in the state this year, recalled his similar forecast last year that about 380 disasters would occur in the state.

While lamenting the lack of operational logistics, he indicated that his office would soon commence sensitisation campaign on the impending disaster and the proactive measures to take.In a related development, coordinator of the Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Programme (NEWMAP) in the state, Izuchukwu Onwughara, said his organisation has successfully mapped out erosion vulnerable areas and is doing its best to reduce vulnerability.Addressing the workshop, NEMA director-general, Engr. Mustapha Maihaja, represented by the Head of Owerri Operations Office, Evans Ugor, said the participants were drawn from the Red Cross and other organisations that have role to play in emergency management.

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