Flood Kills 500, Displaces 1.4m Nigerians in 31 States, Abuja

by Oluwamuyiwa Oyedele

The Federal Government has announced a minimum of 500 Nigerians have died and 1,411,051 others affected as a direct result of recent flood disasters across the country.

This was disclosed by the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, in Abuja on Tuesday, while giving updates on the recent flood incidents.

According to Sani-Gwarzo, 31 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory have all been affected by the flood, adding that about 146,734 hectares of farmlands have so far been destroyed and 89,348 houses damaged.

He said:

“Over 500 people are reported dead. 1,411,051 persons have been affected. The displaced persons that have moved out of their locations are up to 790,254.

“About 1,546 persons that were displaced are injured.

“Furthermore, 44,099 houses are partially damaged; 45,249 houses were totally damaged and 76,168 hectares of farmland are partially damaged; while 70,566 hectares of farmland are completely damaged.”
The permanent secretary also predicted that many more communities along the River Benue, River Niger “and down to the ocean.” might still get affected by the rising sea levels warning that the economic loss may not be quantified.

He also noted that affected states were warned prior to the emergence of the flood.

“When an event is evolving, you do not have a complete analysis of what has been damaged. However, damage and loss assessment for farmlands, poultry facilities, livestock and fisheries as a result of the large-scale inundation is ongoing. The estimate will come in later but at least, we know what has been damaged.

“The prediction and mapping have reached a level where we could pinpoint specific states, LGAs and communities and because disaster management is on the concurrent list, states and LGAs affected have been formally written to ahead of the impact.

“Meetings have been held between Mr. President and the governors and the minister has attended meetings with the governors to tell them about the specific communities and villages.

“I have all the exhibit of letters that have been sent to those states telling them that the rainfall will be on the high side. So, all the predictions increased and the communities were communicated through their governors.

“Beyond predictions, we proffered solutions and many states know what to do. So, a good portion of the response is at the state level.”
The permanent secretary said the federal government was taking every necessary action to bring relief to those affected.

NEMA has so provided relief support to over 315,000 displaced persons across the flood disaster hotspots where state capacities have been overwhelmed.

We are very much aware of what is happening and we are prepared to reduce the impact and also to make sure that places that have not been affected get some relief.

“The impact of the flood will be reduced to a minimum and more lives will be saved and we seek public support in ensuring that the damage is not further worsened.

“We have come up with three approaches for the future. One is: what are the immediate actions that will be taken by the respective agencies? What are the short terms measures that would be taken by the agencies responsible and then long-term actions.

“Fortunately for us, the National Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for Nigeria has just been approved by the Federal Executive Council and it contains all the details of the roadmap.
“So, we are very clear on what to do and we have a book that will guide us. The document will be put to good use by the agencies.

“Moving the displaced persons has been both easy and difficult. For areas where the water level is high, with the help of the military, we have been able to ship supplies either by military boats or their aircraft and NEMA has been on top of that.”
He said Nigeria and Cameroon had a Memorandum of Understanding on how the processes and the release of water from Lagdo Dam would go so that it would not cost too much damage to the countries.

“We have in-house challenges and we have relationship issues that we will need to improve upon but necessary action is being taken including bilateral talks daily beyond writing to ensure things are coordinated.”

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