THE Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has revealed that not less than 29 states, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and 80 local government areas across the country have been ravaged by flooding this year. The agency also lamented that over 200 of its weather forecast equipment, including observation stations, in different parts of the country, are being attacked on a daily basis. The Director-General of the agency, Engr. Clement Nze explained that theft and vandalisation of equipment is hampering its efforts at giving accurate data and information on the menace of flooding.
Nze who made this known during a sensitisation workshop on “Security and Prevention of Vanadalisation of Hydrological Services Equipment”, in Lokoja, Kogi State, said that the agency’s observation stations, comprising 32 automatic stations and over 200 manually operated ones, in different parts of the country were attacked by some unpatriotic elements. According to him: “Instead of expanding and increasing the number and density of the stations, we keep moving in circles by replacing the existing stations that are being lost to theft, vandalisation and/or washed away by flood waters, year in year out”.
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He noted that most of the equipment are not locally available and require huge financial outlay to acquire and put them in operation. He said that hydrological data aside its usefulness to the determination of the level and extent of flooding, remains critical to the provision of basic facilities like water, roads, agriculture and food security. He therefore called for a change of attitude towards the protection of hydrological facilities, so that the country can overcome the problem of flooding and environment related hazards.
“Let us help to protect and own all hydrological equipment and installations within our domains in order to reduce vital losses to flooding and other water”, he said. He appealed to stakeholders to pay adequate attention to forecasts and early warning information being regularly released by the agency. He called for concerted efforts to reduce the menace of flooding by protecting hydrological equipment in the various communities