ABUJA, Nigeria, June 17 (UPI) -- Nigeria is preparing for its annual flood season while still recovering from last year's floods that killed hundreds of people, officials said.
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency said this year's rainfall, which has already begun and will last until September, will be just as bad as last year's, which caused an estimated loss of $17 billion in property, infrastructure and economic activity, Voice of America reported Sunday.
Nigerian Red Cross Society representative Nwakpa O. Nwakpa said last year many people refused to leave their homes until it was too late.
"When the water was rising they were thinking it would be as before. Maybe we do not do this [evacuate]. It will go. But the water kept rising until the villages were almost completely submerged," said Nwakpa, adding that this year, many people will likely be quicker to leave their homes.
Some villages have already begun to evacuate, though Nigeria's emergency management services said flooding won't begin until July.
Emergency management services warned the floods could cause severe damage very quickly, especially in slum villages where drainage pipes are often clogged with trash.