Nigeria – Floods Hit Niger, Kano and Nasarawa States

Nigeria’s Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has warned communities in Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Kogi, Anambra, Delta and Bayelsa states that increasingly high river levels could cause major flooding. At least 3 major dams have started releasing water as high flow from the upper catchment of the Niger basin continues to move downstream to Nigeria.

Floods in Niger, Kano and Nasarawa States

Flooding has already affected the states of Niger, Kano and Nasarawa in central and northern Nigeria over the last few days.

In Niger state, local media report that around 15 people have died and a bridge, culverts and roads damaged over the last few days. At least 8 people died in floods in the state in July this year.

Meanwhile in Kano state, at least 8 local government areas have been affected recent floods caused by heavy rain from Monday 27 August, 2017. The worst hit area is Kiru Local Government Area where houses have been destroyed and 3 people have died, according to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Heavy rain has also affected parts of Nasarawa state, where 3 people were reportedly killed in Mararaba, Karu local government area, after heavy rain on 29 August. Houses and property also suffered severe damage. Mararaba is about 25 km east of the capital, Abuja.

Collapsed bridge in Mariga area after flooding in Niger state, Nigeria, late August 2018. Photo: Government of Niger State

Rivers and Dams in Nigeria

NIHSA reports that high flow from the upper catchment of the Niger basin continues to advance down to Nigeria, necessitating both Kainji and Jebba Dams to commence spilling water downstream.

As of 30 August, the Niger river at Lokoja stood at 8.84 metres, above the 8 metre warning level and rising towards 10 metre red alert. Lokoja is the capital of Kogi State and lies at the confluence of the Niger and Benue rivers and downstream of the two dams.

NIHSA noted that this level was similar or higher to those seen during the catastrophic floods of 2012 in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, high levels of the Kaduna River have resulted in the Shiroro Dam releasing water, increasing the flood risk for communities downstream, NIHSA said.

According to NIHSA, the “Lagdo Dam in Cameroon is still impounding water, and has not started spilling water into River Benue”.

Rivers in Niger and Benin

Upstream, the Niger river in Niamey, capital of Niger, has risen to orange alert levels over the last few days. As of 30 August the river stood at 5.84 metres, according to the Niger Basin Authority.

In Malanville, northeastern Benin, the Niger river has been high since late July but has increased over the last few days and reached 9.24 metres on 28 August (last available reading), above the red alert mark of 8.5 metres.

Flooding in the country of Niger has left at least 36 people dead and over 7,000 homes destroyed since the start of July, 2018.

Levels of the Niger river at Niamey, Niger, late august 2018. Image: Niger Basin Authority
Levels of the Niger river at Malanville, Benin, late august 2018. Image: Niger Basin Authority