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Lagos Issues Alert On Heavy Rainfall, Urges Residents To Relocate From Flood-Prone Areas

Lagos State anticipates heavier than usual rainfall this year with unprecedented 1936.2mm of predicted rainfall.

Barely two weeks to the commencement of heavy rainfall, Lagos State Government has warned residents living on flood plains of major rivers and drainage channels to be on the alert and ready to relocate to higher grounds when the need arises.

The State Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab gave the warning during a press conference at Ikeja, on Seasonal Climate Predictions (SCP) to annually alert Lagosians of the predicted rainfall patterns and its socio-economic implications for the people of the State.

While highlighting the flood plains areas such as  Owode, Iwaya, Makoko, Badia, Ijora, Isaalu, Pota, Shibiri, among others, the Commissioner stated that the state government would continue to notify such residents at the appropriate time.

The government anticipated a more than normal amount of rainfall during the 2024 rainy season with unprecedented 1936.2mm of predicted rainfall. 

He stressed that the average annual rainfall amount predicted for 2024 was 1936.2mm which was greater than the long-term average of 1721.48mm with the onset date expected to be the first week of April and ceasing in the first week of December.

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET), had on 20th February 2024, released this year’s Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) which is a forecast of the expected rainfall and temperature patterns spanning the entire country.

According to the Commissioner, the rainy season was expected to start in the first week of April and cease in the first week of December, while the average annual rainfall amount predicted is 1936.2mm and greater than the long-term average of 1721.48mm.

Speaking specifically, Wahab stated, “Lagos State is expected to experience normal to above normal rainfall, the same is reflective of neighbouring Ogun State.”

He added that the low-lying areas of Agiliti, Agboyi, Itowolo and Ajegunle communities in, “Lagos State are being closely monitored with respect to the likelihood of Ogun River flooding as well as all other river basins in the State.”

The Commissioner said, “The Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) has been put on high alert to make sure advertising and communication agencies comply with regulations on the safety of billboards and telecommunication masts to prevent the incidences of telecommunication mast collapse caused by the high wind speed, expected during the onset and cessation of every rainfall season.

“This puts all emergency response organisations, traffic management organisations and other emergency-related organisations on high alert to help lessen the detrimental effects of thunderstorms and associated rains in the State.

“It is occasionally normal to have flash floods when it rains, which will percolate or drain off rapidly.  It is only when flooding remains on the roads for hours that we can report that such places are flooded. 

“Another contributory factor to flooding is the rise in Lagoon level.  Anytime there is high tidal movement, it may ‘lock up’ the discharge points of drainage channels and until it recedes, there will be no discharge.

“Such occurrences also cause backflows, resorting to flooding.  But as soon as the Lagoon recedes, all the generated storm water will immediately be discharged and our roads will be free. 

“The pro-active administration in the State, in response to the above phenomena, has strengthened the Flood Early Warning Systems (FEWS) to deliver reliable, timely and effective flood information at appropriate response times.

“We will step up our enlightenment efforts to sensitise and advise communities in coastal and low-lying wetland areas of the State, to move upland to avert needless loss of lives and property, when the need arises.

“We will also continue to protect our water bodies from indiscriminate discharge of solid waste as well as erection of illegal structures along the drainage alignment/setback.

“However, during the rainy season this year, motorists should observe prescribed speed limits on the roads to avoid loss of lives and property.

“To our people, we sincerely appeal once again that they refrain from acts that can lead to flooding.  They should stop indiscriminate dumping of refuse in unauthorised places, clogging of drains with silt or construction materials, erecting building structures within and around drainage Right of Ways and setbacks.

“Residents are advised to report cases of drainage blockages, dumping of waste into canals and other unauthorised places to our Resident Engineers and zero tolerance offices statewide.

“Our Drainage Engineers are available in all our 57 Local Governments Areas and Local Council Development Areas to attend to all drainage related matters during and after the rainy season.”

He therefore appealed to the people to support Government’s efforts by complementing through regular clearing of drains in their frontages to ensure free flow of storm water as well as to desist from dumping of refuse into drainage channels.   

The Commissioner stressed that the rainfall patterns from neighbouring Ogun, Oyo and Osun States, dams release and rivers water levels into the State would be monitored.

He added, “It is also expected that the high amounts of rainfall sometimes may lead to flash flooding in parts of the State.

“Because strong winds are expected during the onset and cessation of each rainfall season, lives and properties may be prone to risks.  In a similar vein, commercial activities disruption, flight delays and resultant revenue loss could also arise.”

Segun James

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