8 major rivers, tributaries prone to flood in 2016, says Agency
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has warned that floods will likely occur in eight major rivers and their tributaries in the course of 2016.
The Director-General of the agency, Dr Moses Beckley, gave the warning at the presentation of the 2016 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) in Abuja on Monday.
Beckley listed the rivers as Niger, Benue, Sokoto-Rima, Anambra-Imo, Cross River, Niger Delta, KomadouguYobe, Ogun-Osun and several other subbasins of the country.
According to him, the 2016 AFO is the fourth edition in the series, and is to provide information for decision and policy makers and stakeholders to promote adequate preparedness, mitigation and early warning.
The Director-General explained that AFO was aimed at providing response measures for reducing flood risks and also to improve socio-economic activities and national development.
Beckley said that risk areas in the country had been classified into: High Risk, Medium Risk and Low Risk Flood areas.
While evaluating the previous flood situations in the country, the official said the 2013, which was the maiden edition of the AFO, recorded about 70 per cent manifestation in the confidence limit tests.
He said that about 63 per cent manifestation was recorded for the 2014 edition, while about 55 per cent manifestation was recorded in 2015.
“The fall in the degree of manifestation from 2013 to 2015 is seen as success story attributed to positive response from the government, stakeholders and citizens. This is due to the forecasts and putting in place mitigation measures for reduction in the probability of flooding occurrence and its impacts on the nation’s economy,’’ he said.
Beckey, however, noted that issues of hydrological hazards (floods and drought) had increasingly been major concerns all over the world mainly due to human activities, climate change and rising sea levels.
He said that in Nigeria, drought and desertification had been encroaching on arable lands in the northern parts of the country while gully erosion and landslide were noted in the South East.
The director said communities in the coastal and riverine areas were under the threat of recurrent coastal flooding and salt water intrusion.
He also said that flooding in urban areas had become noticeable in most cities in the country.
“Nigeria is blessed with numerous rivers and streams, the largest of which are the trans-boundary Rivers Niger and Benue.The influence of these transboundary rivers contribute to flood that is being experienced in some parts of the country,” he said.