Kill 5 in Sokoto, wreak havoc in Kaduna, Edo

NATIONAL Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has received warnings from the neighbouring Republic of Niger that the present water level in the River Niger is as high as this time in 2012. “If the heavy rainfall continues in intensity and duration within these regions of the River Niger, it is imminent that flood situation similar to that of the year 2012 may occur,” NEMA Director General Muhammad Sani Sidi said. This is as five people were killed by flood in Sokoto State, after a torrential downpour which lasted for hours wreaked havoc. In June, major thunderstorms caused the Iyi-Udele River in central Nigeria to rise, displacing 5,000 people. In early August, local disaster management officials in Kano State said that flooding had left thousands of homes destroyed or damaged while in Benin City, the capital of Edo State, several homes and streets have been washed away by flood. Also, Kaduna over the weekend witnessed flooding in major parts of the city. “Following intense rainfall and rises in water level, the NEMA has advised communities along the River Niger to evacuate immediately to safer ground over the likelihood of floods that may occur at any moment from now,” the agency said in a statement earlier this month. Soon after, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet, in collaboration with the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency,

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NIHSA, warned of potential flooding in 11 states across the country between August and October this year. “Rainfall in June and July means that soil moisture is near or at saturation levels,” the agencies said. Apart from five people killed in Sokoto, several others were also injured as a result of the flood that submerged the village of Kamarawa in Dange/ Shuni local government of Sokoto State. The state’s coordinator of NEMA, Suleiman Muhammad, who was at the scene, described the situation as unfortunate, saying that NEMA was gearing up efforts to evacuate villages that were affected. So far, he said, most of the victims have been evacuated to nearby schools but expressed optimism that the Agency would partner with state government to find lasting solution to their problems as soon as the situation improves in submerged areas. However, reliable sources revealed to our correspondent in Sokoto that heavy downpour which lasted throughout the night destroyed farm produce as well houses in Kamarawa. The NEMA boss warned those living close to the river to evacuate immediately so as to avoid another calamity. “We warned those that are living closed to water bank areas to as matter of urgency to live the area because the calamity,” he added. While calling for calm, he assured that NEMA was working to ensure all those affected were relocated to
temporary bases for urgent assistance, maintaining that NEMA was ready and also working hand-in-hand with other donor agencies with the state to carter for those affected. Experts explain that in this season, as the world’s climate rebounds from a major El Nino, the usual summer easterly waves had been late in coming. These large clusters of thunderstorms develop in tropical Africa during the rainy season, and are steered westward in the Tropical Easterly Jet Stream. Such major thunderstorm collections leave Africa, typically through Sierra Leone or Guinea, and sometimes spin up to become Atlantic hurricanes, heading for the US. More importantly, for tropical Africa, they bring torrential rain at a frequency of approximately once a week. In Nigeria, only twice this year has significant flooding been reported, but that may be about to change. With confirmation from the agencies of ground saturation, any further easterly waves will produce flooding. Over the last two days, Kano State reported nearly 150mm of rain. Abuja reported only 16mm but given the local city flooding, there was probably more. Bida to the west of the capital recorded 28mm. The warnings of evacuation have been issued and the thunderstorm clusters are developing regularly. The final weeks of Nigeria’s rainy season may be dramatic.

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