The menace of flood
Sir: Our great grandfathers had successfully prevented flooding in the past by deploying sandbags, logs of woods, and ridges to protect key assets and farms from flooding. Today, it is no longer farming on subsistence level and it is longer living in the rural area, half of the world population now lives in cities as a result of civilisation and urbanisation. Flooding is a worldwide phenomenon; it is an annual ritual, which should not be handled with levity.
It is next to wildfires as the most devastating natural disasters and the damage is often extensive and unquantifiable. It is an incident that has caused many homes tears. Each time it rained havoc in the country; we draw up our neck like a tortoise and withdrew within as if nothing happens until another rainy season begins. Some of the worst flooding in recent memory happened in March 2012 when 32 of Nigeria’s 36 states were affected, 24 severely. According to the report, more than 360 people were killed and 2 million people displaced. This havoc was attributed to a combination of two reasons: very heavy local rainfall and the release of excess water from the Lagdo Dam in nearby Cameroon. There has never been a flood of this magnitude in Nigeria.
In early 2017, heavy rains and thunderstorm caused havoc in Lagos and many parts of the cities with their streets and homes flooded and their properties and other valuables swamped. In 2018, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency warned that the shift in the rainfall pattern might cause unusual flooding in many parts of the country and like a seer the floods really came down. Forty-nine lives with twenty people were declared missing. In 2019, heavy rainfall has caused flooding in central and eastern part of Nigeria leading to causalities and damage.
The report gathered in the media of 6th August, 2019, said that seven people died and 20 houses were damaged in Yola, Adamawa State. In similar vein, no fewer than 300 houses and several farmlands have been destroyed by floods in Ngalda, Yobe. At Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), a pedestrian bridge collapsed on August 5, 2019 midnight and four students were killed on campus. A particular concern was my Neighbour’s uncle who died in the unfortunate flood in early August at Abuja. It was early on August 7, 2019 when my neighbor knocked at my door to deliver the sad news. ‘’Ikechukwu was on the road when the wind came in fitful gusts and rain began to pour down torrentially.
He called severally but before they could answer him, he was weak and was speaking so low they could hardly hear what he was saying. Those who witnessed the incidence said, Ikechukwu glided through his shattered windscreen into the top of his vehicle with precaution but as he ascended to grip a pole, water swallowed his car. IK, as we called him is gone but his memory will lived with us forever,’’ my neighbor’s voice shuddered sadly as he narrated how it happened. But what are the causes of flooding? There are several reasons why flooding may cause havoc, some of it are nature-based while others are manmade.
The poor drainage in Nigerian cities makes flooding likely after heavy rainfall. What do we say of people who built their structures on canal and or flood plains? As they say water will always find its level. Whenever there is heavy rain, those houses are prone to collapse.
The question to ask is how do we curtail the menace if we cannot eradicate it completely? Flooding requires diverse approach of intervention, which may include physical flood protection measures and nature-based solutions. The first step to minimise global warming is to start adding greenhouses gases to the environment. Upgrading to using solar and wind to generate power will also help tremendously to reduce global warming.
The solution of flooding requires both local and international interventions, for instance, when the release of excess water from the Lagdo Dam in nearby Cameroon was carried out, there was no adequate jingle in the radio and there was no enough awareness before the discharge of the water. No one can stop nature but we can take some measures to prevent mishaps and avoid losing our loved ones. As at today, we are still waiting to learn from ants that survive floods unscathed.
By Olusanya Anjorin