BY JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU
ABUJA—AFRICAN Centre for Meteorological Application for Development, ACMAD, has predicted that regional ocean basins, especially the North Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Guinea, will witness flooding as a result of heavy rainfall this year.
It would be recalled that last year, water released from Lagdo dam by the Camerounian government flooded areas around the dam, including Adamawa State, resulting in over 10 deaths and loss of property worth millions of naira.
Besides, over 12,000 people were displaced in Cross River State as a result of the effect of the flooding from the dam, while at the lower Benue river region, more than 10,000 homes were submerged and streets of Makurdi town occupied by crocodiles, amongst other dangerous, creeping creatures.
In a statement at the 16th Regional Climate Outlook Forum for West Africa, Chad and Cameroon, PRESAO-16, with the theme, “Risk Management in Agriculture, Water Resources and Health,” ACMAD advised governments of countries within the ocean basins to take precautionary measures to prevent a recurrence of last year’s experience in some countries.
“Due to the weakness of climate factors, monitoring and updating of the daily regional climate will be conducted on a regular basis with more attention in the West of the Sahel which is at the risk of experiencing a higher than normal cases of extreme rainfall, leading to isolated flooding.
“The same is true of hydrological forecasts. Indeed, because of the neutral ocean conditions in the Pacific zone, the situation of regional ocean basins (North Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Guinea, Mediterranean, Indian Ocean) will be prominent in the course of the rainy season, hence the need to follow the updates that will be made especially in June and July 2013,” the communique read.
On the management of dams, ACMAD said the affected regions should ensure efficient flood routing in the dams and reservoirs to prevent downstream flooding and taking all necessary steps to better return on surplus flows.
The body further urged governments in this regions to take the issue of flood risk seriously in monitoring areas with high risk of flooding due to local rainfall or overflow of rivers, raise awareness among people exposed to the risk.
It also asked actors (civil and policy makers) to take all necessary measures to mitigate the impacts of future flooding.