The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, NIHSA, said on Thursday that 99 Local Government Areas in 30 states had been affected by flood, which also killed 29 persons so far.
The Director General of NIHSA, Moses Beckley, made the disclosure at a one-day sensitisation workshop on 2016 flood prediction/prevention and mitigation organised by the Agency at Halims Hotel, Lokoja.
Mr. Beckley said the present flood situation in the country was alarming hence the need for the awareness programme to sensitise the people in the flood prone areas.
“Presently, flood has been recorded in 99 LGAs in 30 out of 34 States earlier predicted with a record of 29 deaths.
“Two LGAs have been badly affected in Kaduna State; 9 in Niger; 4 in Nasarawa; 2 in Benue, and one in Edo, Jigawa, among other states.
“Rivers flooding is expected in Lokoja and its environs due to likely overflow of banks of Rivers Niger and Benue, that is why this we have embarked on sensitisation programme in Kogi.
“Though Kogi is yet to be badly affected by the flood, it is vital that we put the people and all stakeholders on red alert to prevent or mitigate it effects,” he said.
The director general said that the threat of major river flooding occasion by “Red Alert’’ from the Niger Basin Authority (NBS), Niamey, Niger Republic on August 4 has called for concern.
“More recently, on Sept 14 the water level of River Niger at Niamey was 6.20m, which has exceeded the penultimate flood warning level, hence the need to brace up.
“The water level of River Benue is also rising due to high rainfall within the catchment and regulated water releases from Lagdo dam.
“The water level at our monitoring station in Lokoja as at today, Thursday, Sept. 22 is 6.22m comparable to the value of 11.42m recorded at the same station in 2012.
“This shows that the flow is still normal within an acceptable limit but the situation calls for caution in view of high rainfall intensities and oncoming flood waters from upstream countries,” Mr. Beckley stated.
The director, therefore, advised government at all levels to take structural measures of construction of reservoirs, earth dam, detention basins, buffer zones, and clearing of drains.
Other measures include dredging and channelisation of river channels, setting up of flood diversion areas and relocation of people in likely affected areas.
“I urge all the relevant stakeholders to take this sensitisation programme seriously because flood anticipation before they occur allows for precautions and adequate preparation.
“Heeding to early warnings and early actions are imperative towards preventing and mitigating disasters and emergencies,” Beckley advised.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other stakeholders present at the workshop include Kogi Commissioners for Environment, Water Resources, NEPAD, KOSEMA, among others.