Lokoja Flood: The worst flood experience in a decade šŸ‡³šŸ‡¬

I couldn’t wait another day without writing on the flood crisis currently happening in Nigeria.

Nigeria is a country located on the western cost of Africa.
LokojaĀ is a city inĀ Nigeria. It lies at the confluence of River NigerĀ andĀ River Benue and is the capital ofĀ Kogi State.

For the past weeks, dangerously high flood waters have inundated many states in Nigeria. Unfortunately, the country is no stranger to floods. In 2021, states like Jigawa, Bauchi and Anambra were affected by severe flooding and in 2012, Nigeria recorded its worst flooding in recent history. Now, the 2022 Lokoja flood is set to break that record.

Government officials have been unable to provide a specific reason for these events but although inclusive, there have been speculated to be at least three, the first being CLIMATE CHANGE. This comes as no surprise, seeing as human activity and certain emissions have long been held responsible for extreme weather events. Climate change in Nigeria has continued to remind a neglected subject, issues like inadequate financial resources, ignorance and poor governmental policies have put Nigeria among the top ten most vulnerable countries according to recent studies. The increased events of flooding are just one of the effects and by 2050, it is estimated that we would experience additional deaths.

But one of the most persistent contributors to the recent floods across the country is POOR URBAN PLANNING PRACTICES and INADEQUATE ENVIRONMENTAL INFRASTRUCTURE. Lax enforcement of planning laws has seen construction projects spring up on natural floodplains, waterways, canals and stormwater paths. Reports state that people are neglecting the principles of development and sustainability by building on waterways where they are not supposed to. Many residential areas have no drainage system and rely on natural drainage channels. Increased urbanisation also means more areas are built with concrete and cannot absorb water, thereby increasing runoff. Poor waste management is also a recognized factor and all these have accumulated to make Nigeria extremely susceptible to floods.

The current Lokoja flood also coincide with the release of excess water from a dam in the neighbouring country, Cameroon. To cushion the effect of possible flooding from the Lagdo dam in Cameroon, the Nigerian government agreed to build a shock-absorber dam tagged Dasin Hausa Dam in Adamawa State. But sadly, since 1982, the Nigerian government has yet to complete the building of the Dasin Hausa Dam. In a statement released, The National Emergency Management Agency of Nigeria said: “The Lagdo dam operators in The Republic of Cameroon had commenced the release of excess water from the reservoir on 13th September 2022. We are aware that the released water cascades down to Nigeria through River Benue and its tributaries, thereby inundating communities that have already been impacted by heavy precipitation. The released water complicates the situation further downstream as Nigeria’s inland reservoirs are also reported to overflow between September and October ending. This will have serious consequences on frontline states and communities along the courses of Rivers Niger and Benue”. The Agency’s prediction was accurate and these frontline states are experiencing terrible devastation.

Since the opening of the Lagdo dam in September, 3,274 people in Benue State have reportedly been affected while about 1,213 houses have been destroyed.
In Jigawa State, a total of 92 people have died from flooding while 651,053 persons in six local government areas have been displaced by floods according to The Nigerian Tribune.

“I lost five children to the flood. I nearly lost my grandchildren also,” Aisha told The Citizen Reports. She said they were all females, young and without any knowledge of swimming. They drowned in the consuming gosh of water that flooded their home in Tabawa that night. “Delu, Zahra, Amina, Hajara and Hadiza are all gone. They have all died”, she said in a cracking voice. Aisha told The Citizen Reports that Delu and Hadiza were eight-year-olds. Hajara and Amina were seven and Zahra was nine”.

Sadiya Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, said this is one of the worst floods since 2012.

Flood broke the road in half in Bayelsa, cutting the access of an inland community(Amassoma) from the state capital(Yenegoa). They get their major supplies from the capital ~ Kelechi Nworie (source:Twitter)

In Kogi State, about 6 people including a toddler were reported to have lost their lives in Ibaji Local Government Area. The flooding has also ravaged communities in Bayelsa, Adamawa, Anambra, Nassarawa and Port Harcourt.

Houses in these areas have been submerged under high water leading to the displacement of thousands of people. The wildfire in these areas is also in danger and hippos have been seen in the floodwaters trying to get to safety. Motorists and travellers are stranded on the roads and vehicles have broken down with no access to fuel trucks.

The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has blamed the current fuel scarcity in Abuja and other surrounding states in the inability of fuel trucks to access Lokoja roads. This comes after The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) assured the general public that there was enough fuel stock. Those roads were also used for the transportation of other economic goods like food produce and states like Kogi have reported a hike in the price of food products. This is not the only damage the agricultural sector has experienced. Farmlands like rice swamps have been washed away, costing their owners millions in revenue.

Victims have taken to social media to cry out for help, as some of them are stranded on boats in the middle of nowhere. Although rescue teams are working to help survivors, the government has done a poor job of mitigating this crisis. State governors have spoken out expressing sadness for the tragedy but there is a lot more that can be done. Historically, Nigeria has been more focused on post-disaster flood response than control. Reducing and addressing exposure to flood risk is now a national priority in the Nigerian government’s disaster risk management agenda. Currently, there is no flood management policy in Nigeria and the lack of relevant legal and policy frameworks is an indication of the low importance given to controlling and managing floods in Nigeria.

It’s so sad watching the flood crisis currently happening in Kogi state and all other states affected.

The best time to do something was before any of these floods occurred and the next best time is now.

HOW WE CAN HELP:
ā€¢Create awareness: Share videos, articles that contain useful information on the flood crisis happening in Nigeria, amplify and educate others.
ā€¢Donate: Please help the people of Kogi State and all other states affected by this disaster in anyway you can.
ā€¢Nigeria has cried enough. Please get your PVC.
Vote!Vote!Vote!
Vote vision. Vote Value. Vote Purpose. Vote for a better Nigeria.
ā€¢Please join us to pray for the nation of Nigeria. Pray for the people of Lokoja and all those devastated by this disaster. Prayer solves everything. Every single thing. Prayer goes a long way.

SOURCE: FemmeMag; BBC News; Pulse Nigeria

Have you gotten your PVC?
What other ways can we help eradicate the flood crisis currently happening in Nigeria?
You’re welcome to share

I’m sending everyone lots of love and lights. Please stay safe.

Let’s get social: 
Instagram: https://instagram.com/artoftruezeal?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

Contact+ Any questions, inquires or collaborations: okonjanetreuben@gmail.com

READ NEXT:
YOU NEED A PVC
https://artoftruezeal.wordpress.com/2022/06/15/you-need-a-pvc/
THE POWER OF PRAYER https://artoftruezeal.wordpress.com/2020/07/15/the-power-of-prayer/

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