Lives and property across the country, especially in coastal states, are under threat owing to ravaging floods that have left scores either dead or homeless and the failure of state governments to take preventive measures.
The severity of the floods is such that the gathering of clouds now signals danger and sends shivers down the spine of many.
The situation is made worse by poor preparedness on the part of citizens and concerned authorities despite warnings.
Already, no fewer than 18 states are badly hit by the yearly occurrence.
They are Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Benue, Adamawa, Jigawa, Taraba, Bauchi, Anambra, Ebonyi, Yobe, Edo, Delta, Kogi, Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti and Plateau.
With no fewer than 300 lives lost in the states in one year, there are fears that torrential rains predicted for September, October and November may leave more pains and sorrows in their wake.
Findings by Sunday Vanguard across flashpoints show that, apart from public enlightenment in some, concrete measures weren’t taken to either relocate those in lowland areas or address some urban factors found to be responsible for perennial flooding.
Several states were found to have particularly defaulted in ensuring that avoidable destructive floods do not happen.
In fact, Sunday Vanguard observed that they failed to put in place structural control measures such as dams, canals, storm drains, and other facilities to divert flood waters from highly probable risk zones in their localities.
This is notwithstanding warnings by the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Ministry of Water Resources, and even some international agencies like Save the Children International, SCI.
The SCL revealed that more than 75,000 children have died so far owing to flooding in Nigeria and Niger Republic.
On its part, the Presidency had, in August, said more than 500, 000 had been affected by heavy floods and 277 injured across the country.
The Presidency, in a statement, however, restated the seriousness of the unfavourable rainfall pattern this year and the dangers Nigerians face.
NEMA had, in August, warned that 32 states and 233 LGAs were prone to flooding in the coming months.
Director-General of the agency, Mr. Mustapha Ahmed, who spoke at a national consultative workshop on 2022 Flood Preparedness, Mitigation and Response in Abuja, said advisory letters and maps showing predicted flood risk areas in various states had been sent to respective states.
“We have also produced risk maps for vulnerable local government areas as forecasted by NIHSA’s Annual Flood Outlook,” Ahmed said.
In addition, he said state emergency management agencies as well as local emergency management committees must be proactive.
According to him, NEMA received over 50 flood disaster alerts daily, with more 100 communities affected.
The NEMA DG said if states had taken the reports sent to them seriously, there would have been improvements.
“Maybe they’re not taking the reports we are sending to them very seriously”, Ahmed stated.
“Immediately NiMet releases a report, we send the risk mapping to states, identifying risk areas that will be hit by disaster. So, these states have all this information.
“With all this information, we believe states are to develop mitigation strategy”.
The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, had also warned that the flood outlook for September, October and November called for concern.
Adamu said: “The general outlook of 2022 Annual Flood Outlook, AFO, shows that 233 local government areas in 32 states of the federation and FCT fall within the highly probable flood risk areas, while 212 local government areas in 35 states of the federation including FCT fall within the moderately probable flood risk areas.
“The remaining 392 local government areas fall within the probable flood risk areas.
“The highly probable flood risk states include Adamawa, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Delta, and Ebonyi.
Others are, Ekiti, Edo, Gombe,Imo,Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara and FCT.”
However, the Minister said eight states will battle with tidal surges and a rise in sea level in 2022 based on the AFO, listing them to include Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Lagos, Ogun, and Ondo.
Meanwhile, he said flash and urban flooding will be experienced in parts of major cities including Lagos, Kaduna, Suleja, Gombe, Yola, Markurdi, Abuja, Lafia, Asaba, Port Harcourt, Yenagoa, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Benin City, and Birnin Kebbi.
Others include Sokoto, Lokoja, Maiduguri, Kano, Oshogbo, Ado Ekiti, Abakaliki, Awka, Nsukka, Calabar and Owerri.
Though lives and property worth millions had been lost to ravaging floods in some states before the warning, the enlightenment has done little in mitigating the effects of flooding.
Currently, residents of identified states are at the mercy of deadly floods.