Our Stand (70) —
Flooding, a natural disaster that can be managed, is known for threatening the stability of a nation’s economy, health and social status of an environment. It has had a major impact on the Nigeria’s development objectives in relation to social and environmental targets.
Flooding, a gradual gathering of water propelled by a deluge of water over a normally dry land is also caused by the overflow of confined waters like rivers or by an unusual downpour like heavy rains or high outflow from dams. It is becoming perennial in our communities, with increasing number of cases reported over. It has led to high rates of destruction of lives and valuables.
Also, it said that floods can be triggered by intense precipitation, longer duration, close repetition of precipitations or a combination of these.
Last year’s flooding saw more increase in reported cases. It is not surprising that states in the country are experiencing flooding happening annually during the rainy season. Could flooding be attributed to climate change since the happenings are increasing yearly?
Climate change could also be one of the causes of increasing flooding. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, floods are more likely to happen when there are more extreme weather patterns caused by long-term global climate change. Change in land cover—such as removal of vegetation—and climate change increase flood risk.
In as much as climate change could have some sort of bearing on some of the causes of flooding in Nigeria, like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which revealed that climate change has influenced several of the water-related variables that contribute to floods, like rainfall. While the warming world may not induce floods directly, it contributes to some of the factors that do.
However, the case of flood problems in the country could be described as induced. Unlike other natural disasters, rainfall flooding can becontrolledwith proper planning and provision of necessary infrastructure. Most Nigerian environments are majorly known for poor rural and urban planning and inadequate environmental infrastructure. Poor or non-existent (in some cases) of drainage systemsis a known cause of flooding in many Nigerian communities that see lots of residential areas, especially the ones on informal settlements with no drainage system.
Some residents in these areas rely on natural channels as drainage, while others had to construct for themselves and stop at where their fences or building ends, waiting for the owner of the next plot of land to take over. In most cases, if such land has no building on it yet, the privately constructed drainage system from the previous building becomes irrelevant.
Also, poor record in terms of fatalities from flood disaster is highly pronounced in ascertaining the number of negative consequences, this makes chances of finding solutions gloomy. With the current spate of occurrence of flooding in Nigerian communities, it is such that the actual number of losses or casualties will be hard to keep, going by the lack of accurate statistics kept in the country.
Poor waste management system that are even seen in our cities is another factor that sometimes contribute to environmental flooding. The poor attitude of some residents towards waste disposal and the government’s contributes to flooding, especially the common sight of drainage blocked by heap of waste in rural and urban areas.
Unregulated urban expansion, with the high influx of people into city areas without commensurate provisions of infrastructure and amenities. This has seen most agricultural lands converted to residential areas to accommodate housing needs. Some residents even capitalize on some of the loopholes development control to extend or build on unapproved areas, sometimes, building on areas meant to be drainage pathways.