The Federal Government on Sunday advised state governments to initiate proactive and necessary measures, in line with meteorological forecasts regarding heavy rainfalls and flooding across the country.
Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, gave the advice in a statement by her Special Assistant on Media, Mrs Nneka Anibeze, in Abuja.
Farouq said that states that might experience heavy rainfall and possible flooding this year included Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi, Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue, Niger, Kogi, Enugu, Anambra, Imo, Abia and Rivers.
Others are Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Osun, Kwara, Zamfara, Sokoto, Lagos, Ondo, Bayelsa, Kaduna, Oyo, Ogun, Abia, Kano, Kebbi and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Farouq urged the states to identify high grounds, which could be used as camps, in preparation for the evacuation of possible Internally Displaced Persons, and shelter evacuated communities.
She also called on the states to organise Humanitarian Coordination Fora to prepare all stakeholders for mitigation and response, as well as request for relief materials to facilitate prompt response after the flood.
The minister, however, sympathised with the people of Kebbi, Bauchi and Jigawa states, following the heavy flooding in some areas of the states, which led to the loss of lives and farmlands, while displacing many people.
“The recent flood incidences in parts of those states affirm the need for serious and urgent actions to be taken to safeguard lives and property against the predicted flood.
“The 2020 Annual Flood Outlook forecasts that 102 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in 28 states will have heavy rainfall, while 275 LGAs in the 36 states, including Abuja, will experience moderate flooding.
“The remaining 397 LGAs fall within the low probable flood risk areas. Unfortunately, the predicted floods have started to occur in many parts of the country, including Bauchi, Kebbi and Jigawa states.
“Therefore, it is imperative to activate all plans and measures against the prediction, as the rainy season moves toward the peak,” she said.
Farouk urged the state emergency management agencies, frontline local government authorities and other response agencies to put in place precautionary actions, by carrying out public enlightenment campaigns and ensuring the dredging of river channels and canals.
“They should also ensure the removal of refuse and weeds from water channels, drainages and all avenues for run-offs, so as to allow free flow of flood,” she said.
Farouq assured the states that the Federal Government, through the ministry, had taken note of this year’s flood prediction and would continue to work with stakeholders to mitigate the possible effects of the flooding.