Flood Alert: North West states adopt mitigation measures, relocate possible victims
Following warning on impending floods across the country, three states in the North West have taken new measures, including relocation of people living in flood plains, to avert flood disasters.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) predicted severe flooding in 2023 based on the annual flood outlook released by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency and Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, and urged relevant authorities to take appropriate action.
A check by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna, Katsina and Kano States showed that each of the states had taken unique measures to prevent the floods or reduce its impact.
In Kaduna, the state government said it had dredged River Kaduna as part of measures to reduce the annual flooding of the river and its tributaries.
The dredging was done to increase the depth of the waterline to between 2.5 meters and 3metres, and its tributaries to at least 1.5 to 2 metres.
Dr Haira’u Umar, Director Environment, Kaduna Capital Territory Authority, told NAN that the dredging had helped in checking flooding in Kaduna metropolis and its environs.
Umar said the dredging of rivers around flood-prone communities in the state would be a continuous process.
She listed the flood-prone communities as Hayin Danmani, Kamazou, Kabala West, Rafinguza and other flood plains within Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Chikun and Igabi Local Government Areas.
Similarly, Mr Yusuf Muazu, the state Director of Environment, said the government has been working with stakeholders on flood mitigation efforts.
He said the Ministry of Environment and the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) had installed Automated Flood Early Warning Systems and Weather Stations as part of efforts to mitigate flooding.
Similarly, the State Emergency Management Agency (KADSEMA) had identified people living along waterways, documented them, and commenced demolition of some of the houses, in collaboration with relevant agencies in the state.
Muhammed Mukaddas, the KADSEMA Executive Secretary, disclosed that following NiMet’s seasonal prediction of 2022 probable risks, 5,000 Households were assessed and supported with N35,000 unconditional cash transfers each, to temporarily relocate to safety.
“UNICEF through Red Cross and SOCU disbursed the sum of N175 million to 5,000 households to enable the vulnerable residents afford temporary shelters ahead of the flash flood,” Mukaddas said.
Meanwhile, in Katsina State, where flood recently claimed the lives of two persons in the state capital, the Governor, Malam Dikko Radda, has promised to step up measures through awareness creation to prevent flood disasters.
The governor did not however specified the measures the government will take to mitigate flooding, which has already affected many communities in Katsina, the state capital.
In Kano, the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), said it has been monitoring and collaborating with relevant stakeholders to implement strategies and emergency response plans to mitigate flooding in the state.
The Executive Secretary, Alhaji Isyaku Kubarachi, told NAN that the stakeholders were Local Emergency Management Committees, N0n-governmental and civil society organisations, among others.
“We have embarked on sensitization campaigns on radio, television markets, the five Emirate Councils and communities across the 44 local government areas of the state to ensure they clear waterways to minimize flooding,” he said.
Dr Nuradeen Abdullahi, NEMA’s Kano Territorial Coordinator, called for strict enforcement of environmental regulations to mitigate flooding, and advised residents to avoid using substandard building materials.
An environmental expert, Prof. Lawal Abdulrashid of Umaru Musa Yar’adua University, Katsina, said only proper urban planning would put an end to the recurring floods in the country.
Abdulrashid said government must stop the erection of structures on waterways, and take preventive measures against dumping of refuse in drainages.
Another, environmentalist, Abubakar Kabir, called on relevant agencies of government at national and state levels to invest in prevention and provision of necessary infrastructure needed to address incessant flooding in the country.
The expert also said government must enforce laws on preservation of the environment to check the recurrence of flooding and attendant disasters.
Kabir warned of more flood disasters unless the habit of erecting structures on waterways, disposing garbage in drains and violating town planning master plans were checked.
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