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Experts urge mitigation action to curb coastal flooding

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Piqued by the report that coastal flooding is set to rise by 50 per cent globally due to climate change in the next 80 years, environmentalists have stressed the need for Nigeria to adopt new flood defences to mitigate future disasters.

They lamented that the country is losing multi-billion dollar investments as a result of growing impact of flooding. This concern stemmed from a report released last week by Australian and United Kingdom scientists.

With high greenhouse gas emissions and no sufficient flood defences implemented, land affected by coastal flooding could increase by 48 per cent at the turn of the next century, they revealed.

A total of 68 per cent of the global coastal area flooded, the scientists said, would be caused by tide and storm events, with 32 per cent due to projected regional sea level rise.

Although quantifying the cost of flooding in a country like Nigeria that lacks accurate data is quite difficult, experts said the cost is quite colossal when flood impacts on agriculture, infrastructure, buildings, ease of movement and human lives are considered.

An environmentalist, Mrs. Joanna Maduka said the cost of flood on farming is huge because a higher percentage of Nigerian population is into farming.

According to her, if there is so much flooding as being witnessed recently, they cannot access their farms, and whatever crops they have planted will be washed away, which can lead to food shortages.

Maduka, who is the founder of Friends of the Environment (FOTE), said the cost of coastal flooding on infrastructure is huge, as most roads were not properly constructed.

Flooding, she said, is a disadvantage to road users as the roads disintegrate very fast and become inaccessible, which affects business transaction, while many houses are also submerged in flood.

She advised the authorities to ensure that their buildings are not on flood plain because water must find its path.

Maduka urged government to ensure that the drains are cleared before the rainy season.

But, the President, Society for Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Mitigation (SETPOM), Dr. Funmilayo Doherty, linked extreme weather patterns caused by global climate change and depleting forest cover to major cause of flooding.

She stressed that global temperatures need to be controlled by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. According to her, adaptation and mitigation are urgent and indispensable to safeguard development gains and to address the needs of the poor and the vulnerable.

Renown environmentalist, Dr. Newton Jibunoh, stated that the 80 years in the report is very conservative because recent climate change report commissioned by the New York magazine, they are looking at 50 years for the whole catastrophically consequences to occur.

Dr. Jibunoh, who is Chief Executive of Fight Against Desert Encroachment (FADE) lamented that despite this clear signs, the authorities are still not doing much as most of the cities particularly, the coastal cities remained unplanned.

According to him, in major cities like Lagos, Portharcourt and Kano, where there were master plans, they are not been followed.

Dr. Jibunoh said, the adoption of urban renewal is the only way out of the menace.

He however, regretted that “the process is not only costly, but we cannot afford it.”

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