The Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Engineer Mustapha Maihaja, has declared flooding a national disaster in four states — Kogi, Niger, Delta and Anambra.

The agency also placed eight other states on its watch list.

NEMA made the declaration on Monday, days following President Muhammadu Buhari’s order to declare the situation a national disaster.

Maihaja had earlier inaugurated five Emergency Operation Centres (EOC) to facilitate prompt search and rescue operations as well as humanitarian support in the 12 states worst affected by flooding.

The Emergency Response Centres will be responsible for planning, organising, directing and supervising deployment of resources with the affected state governments and local authorities and communities.

The primary objective is to localize the responses and expedite intervention to save lives and facilitate quick recovery.

At the command centre in Abuja, the NEMA DG and other chief executives will be responsible for the formulation of policy and operational guidelines for the conduct of emergency operations in all the worst affected states.

The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) had earlier warned that the steady rise in water levels and weather forecast in the coming weeks had put Nigeria at risk of witnessing a recurrence of the catastrophic flooding witnessed in 2012.

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