ADDRESSING FLOOD DISASTERS IN NIGERIA

ADDRESSING FLOOD DISASTERS IN NIGERIA

Floods are perennial disasters affecting many countries of the World especially those located in flood-prone areas such as sea shores and riverine areas.

Some floods are caused by natural phenomenon while others are due to human activities where water flows are distorted or dams built on river ways when they overflow.

As a result of this, there are always damages done to infrastructure, human lives and that of animals lost.

It also leads to outbreak of diseases such as cholera and malaria.

Flooding is mostly caused by heavy down pour, reservoir or dams over flow, volcanic eruption, melting of snow and glaciers.

In Nigeria, floods are sometimes caused by poor sanitary observations when drainages are blocked by filth and debris forcing water when it rains to find a way thereby costing disasters particularly in the urban areas.

About 40 years ago, Nigeria recorded her worst flood which claimed four hundred and thirty-one lives and displaced nearly two million people.

According to the Nigerian National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, in recent years, Nigeria lost about two point six trillion Naira worth of properties, crops and infrastructure as a result of flood disasters.

The frequency of flooding differs across regions of the world.

In Nigeria for instance, the height of the rainy season which is between July and October every year is the period in which flooding occurs.

This period is often a time of anxiety for many communities living in flood-prone areas as there is always uncertainty once it begins to rain.

Heavy rains combined with poor drainage systems and blocked waterways cause rainwater to flow through unnatural ways going through commercial and residential areas thereby costing disasters.

The Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency predicted that seventy-four Local Governments of Hydrological Ornament Areas across the country were to witness high flood risk during the rainy season this year.

The Agency explained that all the thirty-six states in the country and the Federal Capital Territory were expected to experience different levels of flooding.

True to the Agency’s predictions for 2021, there were some flash floods in many parts of Nigeria with farm lands washed off, houses destroyed and bridges washed amongst many other disasters as predicted.

Given the destructive socio-economic impact of the floods, it is critical that mitigating measures be put in place to forestall resurgence of floods before the 2022 raining season begins.

The Nigerian Government has been working hard through NEMA and other relevant agencies to ensure that flood problems are timely tackled and that lives and properties were protected from the disastrous effect of floods through public enlightenments.

The Agencies have also been giving early sign warnings to people living in flood prone areas to help prevent flooding before its occurrence and be able to cope with it when it comes to reduce its impact and loses.

The campaign and awareness programmes should not be left to the Federal Government alone, State governments in conjunction with civil society groups, and faith-based organisations in Nigeria should also embark on aggressive environmental awareness campaigns to reduce people’s vulnerability to the effects of flooding in the country.

It is gladding to note that States such as Anambra in South-East Nigeria through the State Emergency Management Agency have kick-started an awareness campaign.

As a matter of policy, government should relocate communities living in flood prone areas to higher grounds before the next raining season as non-adherence to flood early warnings in the past has been identified as the major problem militating against prevention and preparedness against flood disasters in the country.

For the impact of flooding to be reduced in the future, the consequences of rapid urbanisation and poor urban planning need to be addressed.

Destruction of property by flood could be reduced by introducing effective town planning, respecting construction rules and regulations, and rooting out corruption in the building certification process.

Unless these practical measures are taken, flood will continue to destroy lives and property in the country.

As it is said; a stitch in time saves nine.

 
PIAK
ADDRESSING FLOOD DISASTERS IN NIGERIA

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