FG Unveils 2024 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO)

The Honourable Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Engr. Prof. Joseph Terlumun Utsev FNSE, FNICE, FNIWE, delivering his address during the Public Presentation of 2024 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) on Tuesday 16th April, 2024 in Abuja
The Honourable Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Engr. Prof. Joseph Terlumun Utsev FNSE, FNICE, FNIWE, delivering his address during the Public Presentation of 2024 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) on Tuesday 16th April, 2024 in Abuja

The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation and the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), has launched the 2024 Annual Flood Outlook with the theme “Promoting the use of Data Analytics and Modeling for Flood Risk Assessments and Food Security” to bolster nationwide flood preparedness by providing early warning signs.

During the unveiling ceremony today in Abuja, the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation Engr. Prof. Joseph Terlumun Utsev, emphasized the urgency of the Annual Flood Outlook in mitigating the devastating effects of floods, highlighting its alignment with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Agenda on food security and poverty reduction.

Prof. Utsev affirmed that AFO Report identified 148 local government areas spanning 31 states in Nigeria as high flood risk areas for the year 2024 beginning from April to November. These areas, include parts of Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross-River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, among others, that are susceptible to significant high flood impacts on population, agriculture, livelihoods, infrastructure, and the environment.

He asserted that the Moderate impact level floods are projected in 249 LGAs in 36 States and FCT with specific timeframes in parts of 63 Local Government Areas (LGAs) between April, May, and June; 221 LGAs face potential flooding in July, August, and September; while 100 LGAs are susceptible during October and November 2024. He further revealed that Flash and urban flooding are expected to affect urban city centers nationwide, including Abakaliki, Abeokuta, Abuja, and Lagos, Asaba, Benin City, Birnin-Kebbi, and others.

The Honourable Minister urged State Governors to swiftly address the information in the 2024 AFO, emphasizing the need for collaboration among policymakers, government departments, and Agencies to mitigate flood risks. He highlighted the importance of maintaining environmental cleanliness, proper waste disposal, and conducting awareness campaigns to educate the public about flood risks and preparedness measures, aiming to reduce threats to both lives and infrastructure.

He reiterated the ongoing efforts of the Federal Government to address flood disasters in Nigeria, with the establishment of the National Economic Council Ad-hoc Committee on Flood Mitigation, Adaptation, Preparedness, and Response, stressing that State Governors have been duly informed with letters and AFO publications with maps providing the exact LGAs to be affected in each State and the expected levels of flood.

In his welcome address, the Honourable Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, Rt. Hon. Bello Muhammad Goronyo, expressed optimism that this year’s AFO would enhance awareness, promote resource planning, and contribute to sustainable socio-economic development through effective flood risk mitigation strategies and efficient water resources management. He underscored that the accuracy of predicting extreme flood events depends on the adequacy, relevance, and reliability of the data used, with lower frequency events often indicating greater magnitud. He added that factors such as volume of floodwater, water levels, inundated areas, and damage to infrastructure and livelihoods determine the magnitude of such floods.

While noting that floods are exacerbated by climate change, worsened by human-induced degradation of natural resources like biodiversity, the Honourable Minister of State also recommended that addressing these challenges comprehensively entails that the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) broadens its focus in future publications to include drought and desertification, particularly in the Savannah and Sahelian belt regions. He welcomed the attendees, acknowledging their contributions towards achieving the collective goal of making Nigeria a flood-resilient nation.

In his remarks, the Honourable Minister of State Agriculture and Food Security, Hon.Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi maintained that rather than having perennial flooding, all stakeholders and relevant Authorities should desilt the waterways and various Dams across the Country in order to improve food production. He emphasized the need for increased water harvesting technology to encourage water storage for enhanced irrigation farming.

The Director General of NIHSA, Engr. Clement Nze in his closing remarks hailed the 2024 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) presentation as outstanding and emphasized its critical role in tackling flood disasters nationwide. He underscored flooding as a pervasive natural disaster in Nigeria, urging proactive measures to mitigate its impact.

Engr. Nze stressed the importance of promoting awareness and implementing comprehensive mitigation strategies to reduce vulnerability to floods and called on disaster risk managers, policymakers, and other stakeholders to prioritize preparedness and flood control efforts to safeguard lives and property and foster sustainable development through intensive public awareness and sensitization to the grassroots level.

The event featured goodwill messages from various stakeholders, including the Director General of NEMA, Mrs. Zubaida Umar, the Chairman of the House Committee on Hydrological Development, Rt.Hon. Pascal Agbodike, representatives of the Ministers of Environment, NIMET, National Space Research and Development Agency, World Meteorological Organization, and numerous other stakeholders and Development partners. The highlight of the event was the presentation of the 2024 AFO Report.

Funmi Imuetinyan
Director, Information and Public Relations