From McPatrick Michael Linus, Abuja
Flooding, one of the world’s unforeseen disasters is again wreaking havoc across Nigeria. So far homes, businesses and communities have been ravaged with the death toll rising to as high as 11 in Niger state alone. Likewise in certain parts of Lagos, properties worth millions of naira have been lost to floods that took the residents by surprise.
The Nigeria Meteorological Agency, NIMET earlier predicted that flooding was likely to occur in: Sokoto, Niger, Zamfara, Kwara, Oyo, Ogun and Adamawa states. Despite these warnings, Nigerians and government agencies saddled with the task of prevention and mitigation went to sleep.
Though a natural phenomenon, man’s bad attitude toward his environment has so far contributed to these wanton losses. Further to NIMET’s predictions, the government failed to put put a measure in place to mitigate its impact.
Pursuant to these warnings, Nigerians never took it seriously. Consequently, properties were lost and economic activities crippled while survivors are left to their fate. The unprecedented flood took over entire Ahmadu Bello Way in Victoria Island, Lagos; forcing some residents and business owners to unceremoniously vacate their premises. In fact, a crocodile was found on a certain street.
In Suleja alone this July, a man lost his two wives and six children, while families perished under the debris of submerged homes in other areas. Needless to mention psychological trauma caused to others. It would be recalled; Kogi state in 2012 was ravaged by similar flooding leading to untold hardship to residents and travelers.
Amidst these yearly predictions by NIMET, the nation still records these huge losses of lives and properties. It is certain that Nigerians and relevant agencies saddled with the responsibility of emergency control are not at all proactive but merely reactive – failing woefully in their duty hence the cause of these avoidable situations.
The Senate has so far urged the federal government to release funds to affected states for immediate construction of damaged structures. In the case of Niger state, the red chamber said the funds were an emergency intervention measure on the flood which devastated the area. Furthermore, it equally urged agencies involved in emergency management to intensify it weather forecast in the people’s languages especially in areas likely to experience floods.
There is no gainsaying that waterborne diseases such as Cholera and other related epidemic are some of the effects of flooding. Therefore, It is imperative for the government to step-up its responsibilities by putting measures in place to prevent further occurrence.
An investigation by Neptune Prime in areas hitherto demolished in the aftermath of previous flooding around Abuja and its environs reveals that residents have since rebuilt their structures without caution to impending danger. Most of the residents interviewed all went spiritual – they claimed God would not allow such catastrophe to ever befall them again.
Apart from poor drainage system which is one of the major causes of flooding in Nigeria; the overflow of rivers beyond their banks in riverine and flood prone areas is another cause. It is obvious that relevant authorities are not doing enough in times of adequate preparation for flood prevention and disaster mitigation.
It is obvious that relevant authorities are not doing enough in terms of adequate preparation for flood prevention and disaster mitigation.
It is interesting to note that, some floods develop slowly while others such as flash floods can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain.
Unlike what happens in other parts of the world, where floods are often caused by the flow rate of rivers exceeding the capacity of its channel, particularly at bends or meanders in the waterway – the type of flood experienced in Nigeria is local.
Mostly, it impacts neighbourhoods and communities. Whatever the case, a faulty drainage system contributes to flooding in many parts of the country, hence such water passages must be upgraded, and channeled or constructed to allow the easy flow of excess water before and during the rainy season.
Furthermore, all hands must be on deck. The citizens should take necessary measures to clear their drainages and stop the random disposal of refuse on the streets, highways and in drainages.
There is the need for those living in flood prone areas to immediately relocate to a much safer area. Proper amenities and support should also be provided to encourage people to relocate otherwise, they would not.
Organisations like the National Orientation Agency must double up public awareness. The nation cannot afford further loss of lives and properties.