Properties worth millions of Naira in Abuja are at risk of being destroyed again by severe flooding, Daily Trust reports.
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency last week warned that the country would experience severe flooding in the coming weeks.
According to the agency’s Director General, Clement Eze, in a press briefing in Abuja, the localised urban flooding incidents being witnessed in some cities and communities in the country, “are expected to continue due to high rainfall intensity of long duration, rainstorms, blockage of drainage system and poor urban planning resulting in erection of structures within the floodplains and waterways.”
The latest warning by the agency came as a follow up to its 2019 Annual Flood Outlook released earlier in the year where it placed 15 states including Abuja on the red alert, asking residents in these states to get prepared for massive flooding.
“River flooding as well as coastal flooding is expected to come into place as the nation approaches the peak of the rainy season,” the agency said in the Flood Outlook.
This year’s flood, the agency had said, could be catastrophic because “flood from the upper reaches of the Niger Basin comprising Guinea, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Chad and Cameroon will be coming to Nigeria in about a month’s time (September).”
In Abuja, Daily Trust reports that most places in the six area councils have been witnessing varying degrees of flooding which have led to loss of properties worth millions of Naira.
Flash floods at Lokogoma and Galadimawa have led to destruction of properties and rendered families homeless.
Over 100 houses on flood plain areas have been marked for demolition by the FCT authorities. More buildings would have to go to pave way for the water, it was gatthered.
The central parts of Abuja, particularly the Central Business District (CBD), Utako, Jabi, among others were not spared of torrential rainfall resulting to flash floods that have led to disruption of vehicular movement and commercial activities as well as causing gradual deterioration of major roads within the areas.
This is even as the FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), warned residents of Kubwa, Gwagwa-Karimo, Kuje, Airport Road and Gwagwalada to be wary of possible flooding.
According to FEMA, torrential rainfall had increased the water level at the Usuma Dam and spilled into the Usuma River Channel.
“The situation is scary; FEMA is advising residents of the listed settlements to be wary of possible flooding.
“They should also observe simple precautions because not all floods are alike. Some develop slowly, sometimes over a period of days. But flash floods can develop quickly, sometimes in just a minute and without any visible signs of rain,” the agency said recently.
Some residents of flood-prone areas across the city are now living in fear over the possibility of flood when it rains.
Daily Trust reports that greater threats of further occurrence of flood in the coming weeks as alerted by flood forecast agencies have given serious cause for concern, especially to FCT authorities on whose shoulders the responsibility of prevention, response and mitigation lies.
Findings show that despite the FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) aggressive flood awareness campaign across the six area councils, indiscriminate refuse disposal, building on water ways and blockage of drainages, among other acts, continue to obstruct the free flow of water when it rains.
As part of strategies put in place to save people and properties from the impending disaster, the Director, FCT Department of Development Control, Mal. Muktar Galadima, said the agency is set to create a flood map within the FCT master plan that points out flood plain areas in the territory.
Speaking with Daily Trust on the matter, Galadima said that if a developer doesnt comply with a building approval plan given to him by the agency by encroaching into a flood plain area, the consequence of the violation will be the removal of the structure.
Galadima also called on FCT residents particularly those that have their houses on flood plain areas to be wary because such areas shouldn’t be inhabited.
“Anybody who builds his structure on the surface of a flood plain area and it has been certified that there wasn’t any approval of that structure, the building will definitely be removed” he said.
“Before you plan a building structure, you have to do what is called site assessment so that you will identify those areas of constraints such as these flood prone areas and nobody will be allowed to build any structure on it,” he said.
Also speaking, the Director, FEMA, Mallam Abass Idris, told Daily trust that structures shouldn’t be built on water channels, adding that it could easily lead to collapse.