The Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has raised the alarm that about 10,000 residents of the nation’s capital would be affected by the impending flooding disaster.
Indications have emerged that the nation’s capital is about to experience another flood with the incessant heavy rainfall and the rising water levels of rivers within and around the territory.
This is coming exactly two years after heavy rains flooded parts of Gwagwalada, an Abuja suburb, submerging homes and shops and leaving behind tales of woes. In the 2012 episode, the flood destroyed over 100 houses, displaced many residents while commercial activities were also disrupted as the floor swept away goods and valuables worth millions of naira.
Also, residents of Trademore Estate, Lugbe were held hostage for hours by a rampaging flood that overran the estate. The flood, occasioned by a heavy downpour in Abuja, covered over 60 houses.
Also affected was a Catholic Church still under construction, which was pulled down by the heavy flood. The flood, which started at about 5:30a.m. kept all the residents indoors till around 8:30a.m. before they could move out of their homes.
Director General of FEMA, Abbas Idris, who addressed an emergency humanitarian coordination meeting on the impending flood alert, said prothat past experience suggests that spill over from neighbouring states
like Kaduna, Kogi, Nasarawa, and Plateau coupled with wholesome environmental practices such as waste disposal and block age of waterways could put FCT on the same danger spot with others.
According to him, FCT was not mentioned among the likely states to be affected by the flood in this year but places like Nyanya, Kuje, Kwali and Gwagwalada were said to be prone to flood this year due to the rising water level in Niamey, Niger Republic and Cameroon.
Water level at Gwagwalada River which also runs through a number of settlement has already climbed up to a heightened level, increasing fears that the flood may soon happen.
Also in places like Bwari, Kuja and Nyanya where waterways have been taken over by structures and refuse dumps, the tendency for flood to hit them is also very feasible.
“Increasing water levels in major rivers across states of the federation and neighbouring countries of Niger and Benin Republics have reached disturbing dimensions which no doubt signals a possible recurrence of the 2012 incident or even worse.
As at August 2nd, the Yellow Warning line of 5.3m/s corresponding to 1,700m3/s flow has reached and exceeded in Niamey, Niger Republic. As at August 8, NIHSA stated that its monitoring station at Makurdi recorded an alarming 9.20m height in water level as against 9.17m recorded on August 8, 2012.
“Near us here at the Confluence in Lokoja, the water level as at August 8th was 7.74m which has exceeded the 7.72m recorded value on August 8, 2012.
This is sending a strong signal to dwellers within the flood plains to relocate immediately to safer and higher grounds,” he said.
The FEMA DG appealed to all stakeholders to immediately activate emergency response plans in readiness and do all within the limits of available resources to ensure that the FCT was not overwhelmed by the direct or indirect impact of the impending flood.
He said that there was an urgent need to put in place measures to support the needs of communities likely to be displaced from their homes in terms of food, health, education, water, sanitation, housing, environment and security.
By Yekeen Nurudeen