A Stitch in Time

Mohammed Sani-Sidi
Mohammed Sani-Sidi

The Nigeria Meteorological Agency and the National Emergency Agency warn governments at all level to pre-empt the effects of heavy rains forecasts in the country this year

|  By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Apr. 8, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

THE Nigeria Meteorological Agency, NIMET, has again predicted that there will be heavy rains this year in some parts of the North and the South West region of the country. According to the prediction, heavy rains are expected in the northern states of Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Zamfara and some part of the South West, while the catchment areas of River Niger and parts of the Niger Delta have higher chances of even more rainfall this year than in previous years.

The weather agency said the rainfall for 2013 would be above normal in comparison with 2012. According to the agency, rainfall in the extreme North may range from 400 to 1000 millimeter, while that of the South was put between 1500 to 3000 millimeter. To contain flooding, NIMET has advised early planning for flood-prone areas of the country.

Abayomi Oyegoke
Abayomi Oyegoke

Abayomi Oyegoke, chief meteorologist at NIMET’s central forecast office, Lagos, said the early warning was to enable the relevant government agencies to educate the people on precautionary measures to avert dangerous flooding. According to Oyegoke, both the government and the people should be involved in de-silting of gutters and other water channels. Construction and clearing of canals should be expedited by appropriate government agencies, while people living on flood channels should be encouraged to relocate permanently from these areas.

“All hands should, therefore, be on deck to prepare against flooding this year. Let the authorities employ flood management expertise and other engineering solutions in the effort to combat flooding this year. Integrity of existing dams should be checked, and the release of water from dams should be properly managed, to avert disaster,” he said.

Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has joined in warning the governments to take precautionary measures to avert extreme flooding disaster in the country. Mohammed Sani-Sidi, director-general of the agency, has called on state governments and local government councils to relocate residents of flood-prone areas in their territories before it’s too late. He explained that only 224 out of the 774 local government councils in the country have functional emergency management committees.

Sani-Sidi said the agency, would map out vulnerable areas and send the report to concerned states and local councils for necessary action, urging them to improve their capabilities to manage disasters. He urged on governments at all levels to make adequate provision for medicines and vaccines, while proper refuse disposal mechanism and de-silting of drainages and reservoirs should be carried out regularly.

Besides, the Lagos State government has reassured residents of the state not to panic over the prediction. Tunji Bello, commissioner for environment, said the state government has taken adequate measures to check flooding this year. Bello noted that the prediction showed that the rainfall pattern for Lagos State and the South West would not be different from the 2012 predictions.

“It has been predicted that rainfall will commence in Lagos between the first and second week in March, with a margin of error of three days, as probable onset dates for the year 2013 rainy season. Lagos is expected to record 1722 millimeter with a marginal error of between 21 and 179 millimeter, while heavy thunderstorms would occur during the raining period of June, July and August” he said.

Tunji Bello
Tunji Bello

According to Bello, the torrential rainfall experienced in the state on 1st and 2nd of March this year, as well as the 4th have confirmed the prediction. He pointed out that the State would experience a rainy season of about 249 to 275 days with intermittent stoppage in February and August. He stressed that the magnitude of rainfall prediction for 2013 would be heavy with high intensity and thunderstorms as experienced last year.

He urged the media to always send the right signal to the people, stating that flash flood, which is usually for a short period of time, was a natural phenomenon in coastal states like Lagos. “It is only when flood remains on the road for days that we can report that the state is flooded. I wish to appeal to my colleagues in the media to avoid scaring the public through sensational headlines like ‘Lagos submerged’ “Flood Overruns Lagos.”

One thought on “A Stitch in Time

Comments are closed.

Contact Us