Floods May Affect 20 Million People, Cause Assets Damages Of Almost $80Bn – WMO

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Flood in Lagos

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has decried the possibility of about 20 million people being at risk from flooding and associated damages worth almost $80billion globally before the end of the year.

The situation could be worsened by the incidence of climate change, population growth and increasing economic activities.

Speaking during the 2020 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) presentation held by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) in Abuja, the director-general of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Prof. Mansur Matazu, noted that Nigeria expects to get her fair share of flooding with 32 states and the nation’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, placed on the flood ‘red list’ for the year.

Mansur stressed that to effectively tackle flood issues, there must be sufficient information regarding surface and groundwater hydrological systems. To acquire this information and predict how it will change in weeks and months, the WMO established the Global Hydrological Status and Outlook System (HydroSOS) to which NIMET and NIHSA have jointly subscribed.

“The HydroSOS will address the current global hydrological status, including groundwater, river flow and soil moisture – an appraisal of where the current status is significantly different from normal, for example, indicating potential drought and flood situations and an assessment of whether this is likely to get better or worse over coming weeks and months,” he added.

Following this, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said that the WMO Congress has approved the implementation of the Global Hydrological Status and Outlook System (HydroSOS), following a five-year pilot project led by the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

The HydroSOS will help countries provide vital, actionable, water resources information to stakeholders across multiple sectors, build the capabilities necessary to produce hydrological status and outlooks information and understand how water resources in their river basins may change over a period.

Earlier in his address, the NIHSA director-general, Engr. Clement Nze, urged citizens to comply with the environmental guidelines and town planning regulations to avoid flood disasters within the country.

He added that the overall objective of the event is to sensitise the nation (particularly, planners, decision and policymakers, farmers, stakeholders and the general public) on the need to embark on preventive measures to improve safety and reduce potential damages to lives and property from the flood events and to increase enlightenment and sensitisation campaigns for better preparedness on flood mitigation and management, particularly in the flood risk zones all over the country.

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