The Worst Flood in 40 Years
Heavy tropical rains during the wet season in Nigeria, often followed by seasonal flash floods, sometimes lead to death especially in rural areas and overcrowded suburbs due to poor or non-existent drainage (Reuters, 2012). In 2012, Nigeria experienced what has been termed its worst flood in 40 years. The National Emergency Management Agency estimated that the flood of July 2012 killed over 400 persons and displaced over 1 million people. The flood, which affected 30 out of Nigeria’s 36 states, disrupted petroleum production in the oil rich Niger Delta by about 500,000 barrels per day–more than a fifth of the country’s daily output and caused an estimated loss of 2.5 trillion Naira (more than 7 billion US dollars).
In March 2012, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) forecast heavy rainfall and resulting floods in many parts of the country. The agency warned governments of southern states to be prepared and residents of coastal areas to temporarily relocate from high-risk spots. Further, NIMET produced a manual to prepare for disaster that may arise from a possible failure of the Lake Nyos Dam which was feared could lead to severe flooding in most parts of Northern Nigeria. Some state governments heeded the warning by NIMET and took steps to keep drainage channels clear in towns and cities that significantly reduced the impact of the floods. In most places however, the warnings were largely ignored leading to heavy tolls in lost lives and damaged property.
Disaster relief committees and groups were organized in the wake of the flood at federal, state and local levels to evacuate affected residents, provide temporary shelter, food, and healthcare services for displaced persons and organize rehabilitation efforts.
Preparing for the Future
Following the 2012 floods, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) produced a Post-Disaster Needs Assessment report that included actions necessary to care for affected persons and rehabilitate impacted areas. Workshops were organized for dissemination of early warning messages from the agency. Community consultation and mobilization as well as awareness programs were also implemented at the grassroots level across various communities. The agency also conducted a flood vulnerability mapping project to identify communities at risk of flooding. Contingency plans have been prepared including firming up agreements with local and international stakeholders in disaster management agencies such as the National Orientation Agency, National Environmental Standards Regulations and Enforcement Agency (NESREA), and the United States of America African Command (USAFRICOM).
The following link provides information on flooding in Nigeria http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nigeria-floods-idUSBRE8880D320120909
The following link provides information on the death toll due to the flood http://www.irinnews.org/news/2012/10/10-0
More information on the economic impact of the flooding is available at http://www.channelstv.com/2012/11/05/nigerias-worse-flood-kills-363-displaces-2-1-million-people-nema/
More information on the economic impact of the flooding is available at http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/217043-nigeria-managed-flood-better-2016-leading-less-deaths-destruction-nema.html
More information on the warning by NIMET is available at http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/10/2012-year-of-flood-fury-a-disaster-foretold-but-ignored/
The following link provides information on measures taken by NEMA to mitigate the impact from future flooding events http://nema.gov.ng/how-nema-manages-disasters