While rainfall is undeniably vital for human survival, crop growth, and environmental health, the impending heavy rainfall in Jigawa, Kebbi, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, and Sokoto states over the next three days raises significant concerns.
These states, collectively comprising the northwestern geopolitical zone of the country, are expected to face potentially dangerous conditions due to the heavy rainfall. Even Zamfara state is not exempt from this threat. Given the available information, it is crucial for residents in these states to be well-informed and adequately prepared to mitigate the impending hazards.
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency or NiMet warns that these states also risk experiencing flash flooding. This catastrophe could severely damage critical infrastructure, disrupt daily activities, and hinder movement. Preparedness and awareness are key in facing this imminent challenge.
NiMet’s forecast indicating heavy and moderate rainfall across up to 25 statesin the country is noteworthy. However, it’s particularly striking that nearly all the northwestern states, with the exception of one, are expected to endure heavy rainfall.
This has direct and potentially devastating implications for the region’s key economic activities, such as commercial farming and livestock farming, which are fundamental to its livelihood. These states are now facing significant threats, including the risk of substantial crop damage, soil erosion, and a heightened vulnerability to flooding, all at a critical juncture.
How to survive this?
Founded in 2003, NiMet has achieved an impressive95%accuracy rate in weather prediction. Given its track record, it appears highly unlikely that the northwestern part of Nigeria will escape the impending heavy rainfall it is expected to face.
James Okanlawon, an environmental expert based in Ibadan, Nigeria, shares these concerns and fears that the entire region could be severely impacted by the relentless heavy rainfall.
The combination of NiMet’s expertise and Mr Okanlawon’s apprehension underscores the gravity of the situation and the urgency of preparedness and mitigation measures in the affected areas.
“For me, ordinary citizens in these regions are the most affected. They are the ones that must go out before they feed, and because they hardly get what will be enough for them, they could ignore these warning signs and even the rains and go about their daily businesses,” he told Prime Progress.
So, he advises that residents of these states, in particular, avoid driving in heavy rain likely to occur in this period. “I understand that a lot is on our heads right now, and our children will soon resume for the new session. Still, we cannot afford to overlook the imminent dangers of poor visibility.”
He added, “What we all know is that during times like this, vehicles can become unstable. Things go worse when they get swept away when the predicted heavy flood causes fast-flowing or pooling flood waters. Our vehicles and cars are allergic to this regional natural happenstance.”
During this time of the year, many children are typically at home, getting ready for the upcoming school session scheduled to begin in two weeks. Given the potential heavy rainfall and flooding concerns, Okanlawon advises parents to take precautions and ensure their children avoid staying close to windows and doors during this critical period. This safety measure can help protect them from any unexpected weather-related incidents and ensure their well-being as they prepare for the new school session.
“Let’s tell our children to please stay away from power lines and electric wires. Some children in the region, as we have it in other regions, still play in underpasses and drainage ditches. At least, for the next one week, let us caution them against it,” he charges.
In this period of economic hardship, Okanlawon acknowledges that the safest stance to adopt is prioritising safety during a predicted hazard that has the potential to affect a significant portion of the country. Ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals and communities should always take precedence, especially when facing natural disasters or severe weather events that could have far-reaching consequences.