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River Niger Outbursts, Wrecks Havoc

River Niger has outburst its bank, following unprecedented increase in its volume by the release of water from four dams. This is in addition to the persistent rainfall in recent times.

Along its path, from Lokoja, Kogi, in the northern part of the country, to Bayelsa, in the southern part, the river leaves tales of destruction, exacerbated by water released from the Kainji Dam and Shiroro Dam, both in Niger, as well as Jebba Dam in Kwara and Lagdo Dam in Cameroon.

National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA has listed other vulnerable states to include Rivers, Niger, Benue, Cross River, Katsina and Imo. According to the agency, the areas that have experienced severe flooding since the onset of the rainy season include the coastal states of Lagos, Ondo, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River.

The Lokoja-Abuja highway, a major access route between the southern part and the northern part of the country has been rendered impassible and cordoned off.

In Kano State, no fewer than 19 persons have been confirmed dead and several others were injured, whereas in Zamfara, more than 50 persons died in floods. NEMA also confirmed that the flood has destroyed 325 houses in Kaduna State, while in Katsina State, no fewer than seven persons have been reported dead.

Elsewhere in the country, rescue operations are ongoing, corpses washed ashore are being picked, displaced persons are being sheltered in temporary camps, while several residents watch helplessly as their buildings, livestock and crops vanished.

It is clear that many residents undermined earlier warning by Nigeria Meteorological Agency and National Emergency Management Agency that in view of the climate change, the country would have a lot of rainfall, between August and September in particular.

Observers maintain that if the people had promptly heeded the warning and relocated to safer places before the flooding, perhaps, a lot of lives and property could have been saved. The situation is however compounded by apathy of most Nigerians toward weather forecasts.

Though, planning, preparations and management of the unfortunate incident by all stakeholders ought to have promptly commenced so as to alleviate the sufferings of the affected victims of the looming disaster, but this may not have been the case as most of the displaced villagers are yet to find succor.

In a bid to reduce the suffering of the affected citizens some State Governors such as Gov. Adams Oshiomhole of Edo promised to release N100 million to cater for some 30,000 persons who were displaced by flooding in Etasko East and Etsako Central Local Government Areas of Edo State.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has engaged the services of three construction companies to free the submerged Lokoja-Abuja Road from the flood menace.

Climate change, which has since become the most topical environmental issue, is the result of greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide, which are building up in the atmosphere and helping to trap heat.

Scientists claim that this has caused the climate to change globally, causing ice-melts in some regions and flooding in others. In the past years, the world has been strategising on how to tackle climate change.




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