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Nigeria Braces for Flooding

Newly-built houses on the bank of the River Kaduna are seen in flood waters after hours of rainfall in Kaduna, Nigeria August 15, 2015.

Farmers and residents of flood-prone areas in Nigeria are bracing for above-average precipitation in parts of the country this annual rainy season.

Local media report houses are being swept away and people forced to leave their farmlands in several states.

Nigeria Meteorological Agency Director Anthony Anuforo, says parts of the country are expecting above-average rainfall, particularly the northwestern states of Katsina and Sokoto. He says those states are especially flood-prone because that is where the Niger River enters the country.

But Anuforo says there is more to the flooding than just rainfall, Cameroon says it may release water from Lagdo Dam, which drains into Nigeria.

“So if they do open the dam, of course it will increase the chances of having flooding,” said Anuforo.

Opening the dam in 2012 exacerbated floods that killed hundreds and displaced millions of Nigerians.

Anuforo said cities are at risk due to flooding because many people have built along waterways or blocked drainages.

“If you build on normal waterways, when the flood comes, it will certainly flood whatever area the settlement is,” said Anuforo.

Bauchi State Agricultural Development Program head Iliyasu Aliyu Gital says flooding there has forced some farmers off their land, in part because the rainfall had nowhere to go to.

“Most of our streams, our rivulets and rivers are filled up with sand,” said Gital. "They are not deep enough to contain the rainfall that runs into the river.”

The rainy season started late this year, Anuforo says, disrupting the planting season and causing some farmers to complain of crop losses.