Just Human

August 11, 2018

RAINS OF FURY: Nigeria loses 141 lives to rainstorm, flood in 2018

RAINS OF FURY: Nigeria loses 141 lives to rainstorm, flood in 2018

• Records worst disaster since 2012
•19,369 people displaced, 5,732 houses destroyed
•Katsina worst hit with 61 deaths

By Clifford Ndujihe

IN one of his numerous hit albums,  Expensive Shit, released in 1975, late Afro-Beat King, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, sang that water had no enemy. In a long melodious and soul-stirring lyrics, Fela justified why water has no enemy. Till the date, and 43 years after, the song has remained evergreen.

However, it may be difficult to convince victims of recurring rainstorm and flood disasters in Nigeria that water has no enemy. To some of them, the gathering of clouds portends danger and sends shivers down their spines.

Since January, this year, no fewer than 141 lives have been lost to rainstorm, wind storm and flood disasters across the country with at least 19,369 persons displaced on account of their 5,732 houses and sources of livelihood among others destroyed.

Saturday Vanguard’s  checks showed that the rainstorm and flood disaster in 2018 is the worst in the last six years after the 2012 floods that killed 363 people, displaced 2.1 million people and affected seven million people in 30 of the 36 states of the country, according to the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA. The economic losses in 2012 were put at N2.5 trillion.

The seriousness of the 2012 flooding, referred to as the most harmful in the last 40 years, was attributed to a combination of two events: very heavy local rainfall and the release of excess water from the Lagdo Dam in neighbouring Republic of Cameroon.

Affected states

So far, floods have ravaged 27 states this year. The states are Cross River, Enugu, Kwara, Lagos, Imo, Kogi, Ondo, Jigawa, Taraba, Rivers, Katsina, Gombe, Imo, Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, Ogun, Anambra, Niger, Katsina, Adamawa, Delta, Yobe, Zamfara, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Enugu and Osun.

Given that Nigeria is still in the rainy season with flooding being a recurring feature since 2012, all hands must be on deck to mitigate the effects of the raging rains of fury.

Recurring flood disasters

In 2013, heavy rains and floods, which started in mid-July affected more than 81,500 people across Nigeria. Almost 8,000 people were displaced and more than 6,500 homes were damaged. As of September 11, 2013, 19 deaths had been recorded and 2,217 farmlands were destroyed.

In 2015, heavy rains, compounded by the breakdown of dams in some states, caused floods in 11 states across Nigeria in August and September. According to the National Orientation Agency, NOA, 53 people died, 100,420 people were displaced and a lot of buildings and houses were swept away.

In 2016, the Director, Disaster Risk Reduction Department of NEMA, Alhassan Nuhu, said no fewer than 100 people died from flooding. According to the UN, 9,000 houses were completely destroyed. The number of livestock lost was about 26,000. At least, 38 people became victims of  flood in Nigeria and more than 92, 000 were without shelters.

And in 2017, NEMA said that 27 states experienced devastating flood disasters, in which no fewer than 90 people died.

Ignored warnings

On May 11, 2018, the Nigeria Hydrological Agency, NHSA, released the 2018 flood outlooks in 35 states of the country. The outlook projected that Sokoto, Niger, Benue, Anambra, Ogun-Osun, Cross River and Yobe states would have high risks of river flooding. It also indicated that Lagos, Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, and Ondo states may experience coastal flooding.

It attributed this to a likely rise in the sea level and tidal surge, which would impact fishing and coastal transportation. The outlook, which is a yearly projection by the agency, further indicated that flash and urban flood were expected to occur in Port Harcourt, Sokoto, Lagos, Ibadan, Kaduna, Yola, Abuja, Maiduguri, Makurdi, Calabar, Jos, Owerri, Osogho and Ilorin.

Others are Awka, Abakaliki, Birnin-Kebbi, Kano, Yenogoa, Abeokuta, Ado-Ekiti, Lokoja, Lafia, Nsukka, Gombe, Suleja, Karu, Nyanya, Abaji, Onitsha, Sapele, Hadejia and other major cities with poor drainage.

The Minister of Water Resource, Suleiman Adamu, presented the outlook. He explained that going by the 2018 AFO, water levels on the River Niger and Benue among other major river system, would rise and remain high during the rainy season. He raised concern that some dams in the country are getting silted up, with the storage capacity also reducing. He said this would cause a lot of the water to be spilled through the waterways.

Also, on July 15, the Nigeria Meterological Agency, NiMet, warned that many parts of the country were likely to experience flooding due to a shift in rainfall pattern caused by climate change.

The Director-General of NiMet, Prof. Sani Mashi, while giving the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, said that distortions had occurred in the pattern of rainfall leading to variation in the amount of rain expected in the country.

He explained that in line with NiMet’s 2018 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction, SRP, so much water would be made available on the surface between the last week of July and end of August. According to him, once it rains, the ground cannot comfortably contain and absorb the water making it to run-off and resulting in so much water on the surface.

“Unless adequate provision is made to accommodate the amount of water that is running on the surface, definitely the likelihood of flood is going to be very high, especially in the areas that are adjoining the riverine locations,’’ he warned.

Were these warnings heeded?  Saturday Vanguard’s  checks indicate that the warnings were only partially heeded. Drainage channels were blocked and the cases of people building houses on flood plains persist. It was therefore, not surprising that the floods wreaked heavy damages in many parts of the country.

Timeline of rainstorm, flooding in 2018

February 28: –  Wind storm wrecked 321 houses and rendered 5,000 homeless in North and South Ukelle in Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State.

March 5: –  Rainstorm ravaged Uhuowerre community in Igbo Eze South Local Government Area of Enugu State, claiming the lives of a bricklayer, and two secondary school students and destroyed a building

March 17: –  A three-hour rainstorm destroyed houses and rendered hundreds homeless in Ganmo, Gaa Saka, Alore Guniyan, Agbooba, Adewole, Kuntu, Magaji Ogidi compound and Okelele in Ilorin, Kwara State.

March 30: –  Two male students of a private secondary school were picked up dead in the flood after a heavy rain in Alagbado area of Lagos

April 9: –  Some areas of Owerri, Imo State capital were overtaken by flood after a heavy downpour.

April 11: –  Over 500 people in Iffe- Ijumu under Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State were displaced after a heavy rainstorm that completely destroyed more than 40 houses and public institutions, leading to homelessness for over 100 households.

May 3: –  Many school buildings and houses were destroyed in Ondo forcing teachers to teach under trees.

May 3: –  Wind storm destroyed 100 houses, injured seven people in some communities in Dutse Local Government Area of Jigawa State. Over 20 villages are affected by the disaster but the worst-hit was Sayasaya where between 30 and 35 households were affected.

May 5: – Wind storm accompanied with heavy rain blew down a network mast that fell on a Restaurant building in Jalingo, Taraba State capital, killing five persons including an official driver to the state commissioner and three girls identified as workers in the Restaurant, and a man from Maadasa area of Jalingo, Taraba State. The  Wind storm also injured priest and seven other worshippers.

May 8: – About 15 persons, including school pupils, were severely injured, while more than 200 houses got destroyed after a downpour was accompanied by heavy storm rocked Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The incident many persons homeless and brought down 85 electricity poles in different parts of the city, forcing the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) to cut off power supply from the affected areas.

May 18: –  Wind storm struck Army Barracks and the Air Force Base, Shinkafi, Modoji, Ambassador, Makera, Kampany and Kambarawa areas of Katsina metropolis killing six persons, damaged 500 houses and rendered many people homeless.

May 29: –  Flood took over Oloje Community in Ilorin, Kwara State  as a result of lack of drainage system to control the Atake river in the area.

May 30:  – Flooding caused by a three-hour heavy rainfall wreaked havoc in Jekadafari, Nasarawo, and Tudun Wada areas of Gombe, Gombe State killing three people and destroying 20 houses and several livestock.

June 6: – A wind storm destroyed 1,536 apartments and property worth millions of naira in some communities in four local government areas of Jigawa State, displacing 30 families.

June 8: – Torrential downpour destroyed public and private buildings including Children’s Recreation Centre, near Concorde Hotel, Owerri in Imo State.

June 16: – Heavy rainstorm and flooding killed eight persons, damaged 1,505 houses in Wuntin-Dada, Tsohon Kanfani, Lafiyari, Yelwa, Rafin Zurfi, Inkil, Guru, Yelwa-Makaranta, Bakaro, Miri, Tiwum, Railway road and Government Reservation Area of Bauchi, Bauchi State.

June 21: –  Flood took over the Akwa Ibom State Secretariat in Uyo after a heavy rainfall.

June 23: – The  Bridge linking Taraba State and three Local Government areas of Southern Plateau State collapsed after a 24-hour heavy downpour that flooded the area.

June 27: – 55 Ogun farmers lost N100m worth of fishes to rainstorm and flood, rainstorm that swept Idagba area of Ayetoro in Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State.

June 27: – Property worth millions of naira were destroyed by flood which occurred after a downpour at Ikare Akoko, in the Akoko North-East Local Government Area of Ondo State. Some streets of the town like Ilepa, Jubilee, Ese, Okorun, Semusemu, Okoja and Iku, among others were submerged.

July 1: – Four members of staff of a new generation bank in Onitsha, along Obodoukwu road, Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State were drowned by flood, which resulted from heavy rainfall.

July 2: –  Rainstorm killed one person, destroyed 100 houses and displaced 600 people in Daura, Katsina State after an eight-hour rainstorm

July 2-3: –  Eight bodies were recovered after flood ravaged Rafi-Gora and Gangare Saji communities in Kontagora Local Government Area of Niger State.The Director General of NSEMA, Ibrahim Inga, said that seven teenage girls were washed away by the flood in Rafin-Gora market while three children also died in Anguwan Gangare Saji.

July 3: – Many houses were submerged by flood following a downpour that lasted for about five hours in Jambutu, Yolde Pate and Yomkore areas of Yola, Adamawa State.

July 6: –  Flood killed woman, 60, destroyed 100 houses and displaced 500 people in Albarkawa, Yardiga, Yartsayasu and Lemawa areas of Gummi town, Gunmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

July 9: –  Flood sacked 63 communities, and destroyed 43 houses in Koko, Warri North, Araya, Isoko South Local Government Area, Agbarhor Ughelli North, and part of Jesse and Oghara communities of Delta State.

July 12: – Three persons believed to be in their early 20s were killed by thunderstorm in Ijebu-Ode area of Ogun State. The incident occurred at about 3pm during a heavy downpour.

July 13: –  Flood killed 12 people, displaced 3,800 people in Abeokuta, Ogun State after a  massive flood that swept away many people including two mothers, three children, two young boys and many valuables. Areas mostly affected in the city were Ijaiye, Kuto, Lafenwa, Oke Lantoro, Amolaso, Kobiti and Ilawo. The flood arose after Sokori rivers broke their banks following a torrential rainfall. In Abeokuta North, 200 houses were also affected with estimated 1,800 persons involved, according to the emergency officials.

July 15 -16: –  54 lives were lost following a devastating rainstorm and flooding in Kukan Danmaciji of Jibia LGA, Tundun Takari, Dan Tudu, Unguwar Kwakwa and Unguwar Mai Kwari areas of Katsina State. It also destroyed 500 houses and displaced 10,000 people.

Lamenting the destruction, Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari said he had never seen such a disaster in his life.

“You need to go there, it was a real disaster. As of the time we left Jibia, no less than 44 people were confirmed dead while over 500 houses were completely damaged. As a government, we shall find permanent solutions to the problem.

“We know Jibia is a flood-prone area and we build drainage. But what happened was that instead of water to flow to the river through the drainage, water from the river was flowing back into the drainage, thereby causing the flooding during the rainstorm…

‘’I can say that I have never seen this kind of disaster in my life. The water level was above 10 feet high and it is purely a natural disaster as the government had constructed drainages that were emptying into Jibia River. The water from the river moved in a reverse order and came back to the town and caused the flooding.”

A resident, Muhammed Jafaru, 65, said the area was flooded three years ago but it was not as big as the one of this year, adding that the construction of dam on the riverside blocked the passage of water and provided land for people to build houses.

July 18: – About 100 houses were destroyed by flood in Babangida, headquarters of Tarmuwa Local Government Area of Yobe State following a heavy downpour.

July 19: – Victoria Oparanti, a 6-year-old pupil of New Generation Group of Schools, was washed away by flood in the five-junction axis of Benin City, on her way back from school.

July 21: –  Houses were submerged, Lafia- Akwanga Federal Highway linking North-East parts of the country was flooded leaving commuters stranded in Nasarawa State.

July 24: –  Flood displaced hundreds of Damaturu residents  following a down pour which lasted many hours. The rains destroyed houses and shops in places such as Nayi Nawa, Shago Tara, Fulatari, Pompomari and Bulabulin.

July 26: –  Flood destroyed 200 houses and rendered many people homeless in Maru town, the headquarters of Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

July 26: – Flash flood killed a 14-year old at Obibia stream behind Governor’s Lodge Amawbia, Awka South local Government Area, Anambra State. She was with four other people in a 504 Peugeot vehicle that was swept away. The girl was in the flood for over four hours and was still alive when rescued but later died at the hospital. The stream normally overflows its bank whenever there is a heavy down pour.

July 27: – Flood arising from heavy rainfall sacked seven villages in Ohaozara community, Ebonyi State, rendering many residents homeless.

July 27: – A woman and her child were swept away by flood at Ago-Ijesa. Bridges at Isabo, Isale -Oja Kuto, Ijeja -Igbore caved in to the flood following a torrential rain in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. Two children of the same mother were also washed away by the flood

July 29: –  Flood killed 12 people in Jigawa State. It killed six people, destroyed 120 houses, and farms in Jahun Local Government Area.

Six persons also died in Babura LGA of Jigawa State after a two-hour heavy downpour hit two communities. Four of the victims were members of the same family. The four died immediately their room collapsed on them while their mother, who sustained injuries died later at Babura General Hospital. Another woman died at Garin-Jigawa after a building also collapsed on her.

July 29: – About 100 buildings and shops were destroyed by rainstorms in some towns and villages in Ondo State, rendering many residents homeless. Affected towns included, Oba Ile, Okitipupa, Igbotako, Ilutitun, Ikoya and Omotoso.

July 30: – There were tales of woe as  flood ravaged Ile-Ife, Osun following a downpour.  Houses in Parakin, Mayfair, Damico, Asherifa and Ede road among other areas were submerged and many properties were destroyed.

July 30: – Three children were drowned, while two others were declared missing in a devastating flood following three days of downpour that wreaked havoc at Okpoko in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State. No fewer than 10 buildings were damaged in the area, which is a suburb of Onitsha.

July 31: – Flash flood killed a mother and her daughter in a rice farm in Ayamelu Local Government Area of Anambra State. The deceased, whose name was given as Mrs. Achebe, was said to have drowned alongside her daughter during a downpour.

How rainstorm ravaged states in 2018


Cross River: 500 displaced, 321 houses destroyed

Enugu: 3 killed, buildings affected

Lagos: 2 killed

Kogi: 500 people displaced, 40 houses, buildings wrecked

Jigawa: 11 killed, 30 families displaced, 220 houses destroyed

Taraba: 5 killed, bridge, mast, buildings damaged

Rivers: 200 houses, 85 electric polls damaged

Katsina: 61 killed, 10,000 displaced, 1,090 houses destroyed

Gombe: 3 killed, 20 houses wrecked

Jigawa: 11 killed, 1,536 apartments damaged, 30 families displaced

Ogun: 19 killed, many houses damaged

Anambra:  12 killed, 10 buildings, others damaged

Niger: 18 killed

Zamfara: 1 killed, 500 displaced, 200 houses destroyed

Delta: 40 houses damaged, 63 communities affected

Yobe: 100 houses damaged

Edo: 1 killed

Ebonyi: 7 villages submerged, many rendered homeless

Ondo: 100 buildings damaged