By G9ija

Over 2.5 million persons are affected by current floods which hit Nigeria when Cameroonian authorities released water from their Lagdo Dam.

Of this figure, the Federal Government said, 1.3 are displaced, 2,407 injured, and 603 persons lost their lives.

These figures were released on Sunday in Abuja by the the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, while unveiling Nigeria’s preparation to meet with the Government of Republic of Cameroon over the release of water from Lagdo Dam at a press conference.

Farouq also tasked state governments to put more efforts on the evacuation of flood victims to higher grounds.

She said about 121,318 houses were partially damaged, 82,053 houses were totally damaged, 108,392 hectares of farmlands were partially damaged and 332,327 hectares of farmlands were totally damaged.

“While we mourn the unfortunate boat mishap in Anambra and other locations, please, we must note that we are not completely out of the woods,” Farouq said.

She said the Meteorological Agencies are warning that States like Anambra, Delta, Cross River, Rivers and Bayelsa are still at the risk of experiencing floods up till end of November.

She said: “So, we are calling on the respective State Governments, LGAs and Communities to prepare by evacuating people living on flood plains to high grounds, providing tents and relief materials, fresh water as well as medical supply for possible outbreak of water borne disease.”

Farouq recalled that on February 15, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency released the 2022 Seasonal Climate Prediction informing Nigerians that the rains of 2022 will be heavier and longer.

She also stated that on May 12, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency released the Annual Flood Outlook.

According to her: “Immediately after these two releases, the National Emergency Management Agency was all out in the media and went to all States and FCT.

“NEMA warned of expected floods and advised on mitigating and preparedness actions needed to take to minimise losses and damages.

“I also briefed the National Economic Council on September 22, where I outlined preparedness strategies that all State Governments should take to mitigate the 2022 floods.

“I have laid this background so that you will appreciate the concern of this Ministry, that despite all these efforts, we still appear to have become overwhelmed by the flood when it came.

“However, we must initiate a bilateral discussion with authorities in Cameroon in November on the periodic opening of the Lagdo Dam.

“The delegation to Cameroon is to be led by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be requested to facilitate the meeting.”

Farouq said there was enough warning and information about the 2022 flood, but States, Local Governments and Communities appeared not to take heed.

She added: “There is the need for State Governments to invest in flood management and lead on community base flood early warning systems; hence we called on State Governments to take greater responsibilities for flood preparedness and response.

“We are calling on the respective State Governments, LGAs and Communities to prepare by evacuating people living on flood plains to high grounds, providing tents and relief materials, fresh water as well as medical supply for possible outbreak of water borne disease.”