Relief agency warns on flooding, food shortages in Nigeria

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LAGOS (AFP) – Nigeria’s major emergency relief agency Sunday warned that predicted unprecedented rainfall and heavy flooding this year posed a serious threat to food security in Africa’s most populous nation.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in a statement warned food crops and animal husbandry farmers “of dangers posed by flooding that may cause serious damage and reduction of the yields of foods or death of animals.”

NEMA director general Muhammad Sani Sidi has directed all the agency’s six zonal offices across the country to begin to sensitise all stakeholders on “high risk threats of heavy rainfall” posed to food and animal production, it said.

The warning followed a recent weather forecast by the nation’s official meteorological agency that Nigeria may experience an “unprecedented heavy rainfall this year” which may lead to flash flooding across the country.

Sidi identified crops such as pearl millet, rice, wheat, melon, beans and groundnut which are some of the staple foods in the country and which thrive on minimal rainfall for optimal yields, as being under threat of flooding.

NEMA urged government and donor agencies to provide excavators and water pumping machines to ensure water-logged farmlands are speedily drained while animals should be lifted to higher ground for safety against flooding.

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