2021 rainfall: Lagos issues flash flood alert

The State Government in a statement signed by the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello, asked all traders under Bridge including those not affected by the fire incident of last Sunday to move from the present location

Lagos State Government has predicted high intensity of rainfall of 261 days in 2021 with attendant flooding across the state even as it assured residents of adequate protection of lives property.

The state, therefore, directed communities in coastal and low-lying wetland areas of the state to move upland to avert needless loss of lives and property.

Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello, accompanied by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Drainage Services, Mr Joe Igbokwe, made the remarks on Wednesday, at a media briefing on the 2021 Seasonal Climate Predictions, SCP, and Socio-Economic implications for Lagos State, held at Alausa, Ikeja.

According to Bello, the peculiarity of Lagos as a coastal state and its strategic position as the economic hub of the nation has necessitated the need to disseminate crucial information in this year rainfall prediction in order to prepare ahead for the likely consequences of the rainfalls.

He said, “The forecast for 2021 is based on the informed Global consensus that El-Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is at the cool phase which will continue till around June and likely give to a dominant El-Nino phase till the end of 2021.

“Generally, the Seasonal Climate Prediction for Lagos State signifies that onset dates ranged between March 17 in the earliest and April 6, while the season-ending to range between November 20 and December 5, 2021.

“The connotation is that Lagos State shall experience a rainy season of 238-261 days while the maximum annual rainfall amount is predicted to be 1,747 mm.

“It is also expected that the increasing frequency of extreme weather events indicates that year 2021 will likely experience days with extremely high rainfall amounts which may result in flooding.”

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He noted that the State is collaborating with the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) not only in the areas of Annual SCP but also in downscaling the predictions to all stakeholders.

He added that the state has concluded preparation to have its own network of weather stations to closely monitor the climate as well as increase the preparedness for weather-related issues.

According to the commissioner, Ikeja is expected to experience about 261 days of rainfall with a total amount of 1392mm and the rainfall.

Bello restated that the Emergency Flood Abatement Gangs (EFAG) of the Ministry have been consistently de-silting and working on various linkages to the secondary and primary channels to enable them to discharge efficiently and act as retention basins.

He said in order to forestall the incidences of the collapse of telecommunication masts, occasioned by the high velocity of the wind, expected during the onset and cessation of every rainfall, Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) has been put on alert to ensure advertising and communication agencies comply with regulations on the safety of billboards and telecommunication masts.

Bello disclosed further that government is determined to maintain the long-established synergy and partnership with Ogun-Oshun River Basin Authority which has ensured control and monitoring of the steady and systemic release of water from Oyan Dam to prevent flooding of the downstream reaches.

He urged journalists to partner government in sensitizing Lagosians who reside along flood plains of major rivers and drainage channels such as Owode, Iwaya, Makoko, Badia, Ijora, Isaalu, Pota, Shibiri, among others, to always be on the alert and be ready to move to higher grounds when the need arises.

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Stressing that it is natural to have flash floods, which will percolate or drain off quickly, as is also the case in different parts of the world, the commissioner, added that It is only when flood remains on the roads for several hours and days that flooding can be reported.

Bello, however, called on market men and women to ensure that they follow the rules as regards waste disposal and cleanliness in their market space as any market found flouting this law will be shut.

Igbokwe disclosed that the government planned to dredge about 221 collector drains, 32 primary channels measuring about 72kilometres, km, spread across the 20 Local Government Areas of the state to checkmate flooding.

He added that EFAG would also be de-silting various tertiary channels and manholes measuring about 100km across the state.

He assured that the present administration was determined to find a lasting solution to flooding by building of concrete drainage covers while dredging of canals which have commenced in March will round up in October.

“I, therefore, urge residents to support the government to achieve a flood-free Lagos and desist from dumping refuse in drainage channels or encroaching on Right of Ways of canals. It is regrettable that several of the canals that have been recently cleaned up are again been littered by residents,” Igbokwe stated.

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