NEMA: Bayelsa, Lagos, Rivers, Delta at Higher Risk of Flooding in 2023

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has raised concerns about the increased risk of flooding in Bayelsa, Lagos, Rivers, and Delta states in 2023. During the presentation of the 2023 Climate-related Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation Strategies in Abuja, NEMA's Director-General, Mustapha Ahmed, stated that the projected flooding is attributed to rising sea levels and tidal surges in these states.

According to Ahmed, this year's forecast indicates a high probability of coastal flooding, which could have adverse effects on agriculture, human settlements, and transportation in the affected states. Additionally, flash and urban floods are expected in various cities and towns due to inadequate drainage systems and non-compliance with town planning and environmental regulations.

Ahmed emphasized that prompt action is crucial to prevent a situation similar to or worse than the 2022 floods. To this end, NEMA has sent letters and attached relevant documents to all 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory Administration, specifying areas at risk and the necessary actions to be taken by relevant authorities. The agency has also created flood risk maps, which are available on its official website and social media platforms for easy access by the public.

Furthermore, NEMA has commenced public sensitization on the predicted floods and urged state governments to establish Local Emergency Management Committees (LEMC) in areas where they do not currently exist.

In 2022, floods caused significant loss of lives and properties in 33 states. NEMA reported that 665 people died and 3,181 others sustained injuries due to flooding. Over 200,000 people were displaced, and nearly one million farmlands were either partially or completely destroyed. The National Agricultural Extension Research Liaison Services estimated that the agricultural losses resulting from the 2022 floods amounted to approximately N700 billion.

NEMA had previously issued a warning in March, describing the 2022 flood as a wake-up call for emergency responders and highlighting the ongoing struggle of affected communities to recover from the devastating event.