Nigeria Triggers National Response Plan for Annual Deadly Floods; 14 States on Alert

Nigeria Triggers National Response Plan for Annual Deadly Floods; 14 States on Alert

Authorities in Nigeria say they have activated a national response plan ahead of what’s expected to be another round of deadly floods blamed mainly on climate change and infrastructure problems

ABUJA, Nigeria — Nigeria’s government activated its national response plan ahead of what is expected to be another round of annual flooding related to climate change, putting several states on alert, authorities told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Following floods last year that killed more than 600 people, the National Emergency Management Agency said it was preparing for another dangerous deluge. The agency requested support from the country’s air force and activated its offices to be ready to respond quickly across the country, spokesperson Manzo Ezekiel said.

“As it is, the (flooding) outlook is still very gloomy, and we are doing our best to raise awareness and get the various agencies to prepare accordingly,” Ezekiel said.

Nigeria experiences deadly flooding every year, often as a result of ignored environmental guidelines and inadequate infrastructure. However, an unusual amount of rain and the release of excess water from a dam in neighboring Cameroon resulted in record deaths last year and destroyed more than 340,000 hectares (about 840,158 acres) of land in 33 of the West African nation’s 36 states and in the capital city.

Less rain is expected this year, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency said. But extreme weather combined with human activities such as building on waterways could cause flooding in several states.

“As a result of climate change, we’ve been seeing extreme weather events like unusual rainfall (and) unusual heat,” Ibrahim Wasiu, the head of the meteorological agency’s forecasting unit, said. “Climate change plays a role.”

As many as 14 states are on alert for flooding in the coming days, according to an alert published Wednesday by the Federal Ministry of Environment. The ministry urged the states to take precautionary measures to prevent a loss of lives.

Several states have already experienced flooding this year, including the capital, Abuja, where days of downpour swept away many houses and blocked major roads, prompting authorities to mark hundreds of houses for demolition.

“The most important thing is to put people in a safe disposition,” Ezekiel with the disaster management agency said. “Our focus is to see how people as much as possible will not be affected by the floods.”

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