“Water no get enemy”, is a popular Nigeria expression but Abia Warriors football players, scampered for safety as heavy flooding swept through their camp in the Umuahia Township Stadium on Wednesday.
The flood flowed through a hole made in the fence of the township stadium unto the football pitch, down through the lodge of the Abia State Warriors’ players and the State’s Sports Council offices, leaving behind huge damages to office documents, equipment, properties and personal effects.
President of Abia Comets Football Club, Coach Victor Nwakanma lamented that although the incident wasn’t the first occurrence, this particular case was prompted by the activities of shop owners, who broke through the fence in a bid to create a passage for water, which was hindered by the filled up drainages, amidst the heavy downpour.
Recall that a new study by Nigeria’s meteorological agency, shows that the percentage of the global population are at risk from flooding which has risen by almost a quarter since the year 2000.
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Satellite images were used to document the rise, which is far greater than had been predicted by computer models.
The analysis shows that migration and a growing number of flood events are behind the rapid increase.
By 2030, millions more will experience increased flooding due to climate and demographic change.
On the 25th August 2021 Nigeria’s meteorological agency, NiMet, had in a press release said that within the next three days, “heavy rainfall” is expected over parts of Katsina, Jigawa, Niger, eastern Kogi, Nasarawa, western Benue and Cross River; adding that there are chances of moderate to heavy rainfall over parts of Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia, Akwa Ibom from Wednesday to Friday.
NiMet`s weather outlook released on September 19 in Abuja predicted partly cloudy to cloudy skies over the Northern region with chances of thunderstorms over parts of Taraba and Southern Kaduna in the morning hours.
“The inland and the coastal cities of the South are expected to be under cloudy skies in the morning hours with chances of rains over parts of Akwa Ibom and Rivers state.
“Isolated thunderstorms are expected over parts of Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Abia and Anambra state, while rains are expected over the coastal cities in the afternoon and evening hours,“ it said.
“Thus, the public is advised to exercise restraint, avoid low-level areas and fast-flowing runoff waters. Emergency agencies are to be prepared for any eventualities. Hence, the public is advised to be prepared for these events to avoid damages from rain-related hazards”.
The management of Abia Comets Football Club who are neighbours, appealed to shop owners along Finbars Road behind the Umuahia Township Stadium, to de-silt their drainages, to enable an easy flow of water and prevent flood incidents in the area.
Coach Victor Nwakanma who made the appeal while addressing our correspondent, following the flood incident that left in its wake damages after a heavy downpour, decried the hesitation of the shop owners to clean up the drainages, despite early warnings from relevant state authorities, ahead of the flood this year.
Secretary of the Abia Comets Football Club, Hyacinth Ezindu, called for measures to be put in place by the shop owners in order to prevent the eventuality of such incidents.
He also appealed to relevant authorities, to closely monitor the shop owners, and ensure that the drainages are freed.
Based on reports obtained from Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and observations from neighboring states, the state government in a press release signed by the commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu called on all citizens of the state, especially those residing in Aba to urgently clear drainage ways and gutters to ameliorate/avert the impending flood disaster as warned by NiMet.
The release also stated that the governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has directed ASEPA, APUMA and other relevant agencies of the state to mount a major operation to ensure compliance and evacuation of wastes scooped from the drains from Wednesday, 22nd September, 2021.
The release enjoined residents to maintain a high level of environmental awareness and caution during heavy rains to avoid accidents associated with flash flooding.
Flooding is an overflowing of water onto land that is normally dry. Floods can happen during heavy rains. Damaging floods may happen with only a few inches of water, or it may cover a house to the rooftop.
Flooding is an environmental disaster that impacts more people than any other, say researchers.
That view has echoed around the world in recent weeks, with huge inundations destroying lives and property.