NEWARI Offers Urgent Recommendations as floods and cholera risks escalates in Nigeria

In April 2024, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency presented to the general public the 2024 Annual Flood Outlook, which shows that 148 LGA in 31 states fall within the High Flood Risk areas, while 249 LGA fall within the Moderate Flood Risk areas with the remaining 377 LGA falling within the Low Flood Risk areas. The high flood risk states as predicted are Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross-River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara and the FCT.

The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev, hinted that, with 10 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, already experiencing various degrees of flooding or recorded casualties as rains intensified, 21 more states might suffer similar fate in the coming days. He further stated that river flooding is expected, beginning this month (July 2024) with about 20 states predicted to be impacted.

So far, the torrential downpours and resulting flash floods have resulted in deaths across states, with some businesses and commercial activities grounded in states like Lagos and Ogun states. The Federal Government has further warned that the increasing level of flooding and continuous rainfall may worsen the spread of cholera in the country.

There is no doubt that the increasing cases of flooding incidents across Nigeria has heightened the risk of cholera spread and other water-borne diseases across Nigeria. This is because, many sources of water used in Nigeria, especially rivers and open wells, become highly contaminated due to chemicals, fecal wastes and other contaminants that are washed off from different locations into water bodies that are used for either drinking or other domestic purposes. According to the National Centre for Disease Control, the cholera outbreak across Nigeria has already resulted in 63 deaths and 2,102 suspected cases as at June 30, 2024. The rising flood incidents portend even more casualties, if proactive measures are not taken to nip the spate of cholera spread in the bud.

Call-to-Action for State Governments

It is important to note that the Federal Government only plays advisory role, while enforcement and local action is under the states’ jurisdiction. Therefore, to reduce the heightened risk of spread of cholera as a result of rising flood incidents, and be better prepared to respond to flooding incidents, NEWARI urges state governments in Nigeria to take these proactive measures:

  1. Prioritize and boost implementation of cholera preventive measures like vaccination and sustainable investment to improve access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities across their states.
  2. Enhance surveillance and monitoring for cholera cases.
  3. Intensify public awareness campaigns on cholera prevention and control.
  4. Identify and designate cholera treatment centers and pre-position medical supplies and equipment.
  5. Develop flood preparedness plans, including evacuation routes and shelters whilst ensuring provisions are made for resources for flood response and cholera control in these shelters.
  6. Conduct regular water quality testing.
  7. Implement flood mitigation measures like drainage clearance and levee maintenance.
  8. Collaborate with NGOs, International Development Agencies, Community Structures and other stakeholders for support.
  9. Establish emergency operation centers for coordinated response.

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About Us

Network of Water Rights Initiative (NEWARI), commonly known as WASH Rights Network, is a registered Nigerian Network of Non-Governmental Organizations (with registration number CAC/RN: 190076) that is focused on enhancing access to safe, clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services in Nigeria through a human rights and responsibility-based approach. Integral to the core objectives of the Network is the alleviation of water poverty by promoting collaboration, effective partnerships and synergy amongst WASH-focused organizations in Nigeria. NEWARI is committed to contributing towards the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG #6) to make clean water and sanitation accessible to all.

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