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Flood: Need For Robust Preparation

Matthew Atungwu

Flood: Need For Robust Preparation

A new report by the Nigerian Meteorological Organization (NiMet) inscribed, “Weighty Precipitation Conjecture Release No: 2023005”, cautioned Nigerians about the probability of flood, following the possibilities of weighty downpours in certain states this year. The director-general of NiMet, Prof. Mansur Bakur, also addressed the issue, stating that a flood is a natural occurrence and that climate change activities will increase the frequency of floods.

In a similar vein, Clement Nze, who serves as the Director-General of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NHSA), made the disclosure that 178 local government areas (LGAs) in 32 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were particularly vulnerable to severe flooding this year. It added that the degree of flood between April and November 2023 is supposed to be high with regard to the effect on the populace, jobs, framework, and climate.

Since the flood scourge popped up in the country, each stormy season has become one that fills Nigerians with fear and anxiety given the results. We find it troubling that the government at all levels appears powerless to find a long-term solution to this natural problem. Nigerians anticipate proactive measures that will offer a long-term solution to the issue. Instead, they receive relief materials and platitudes that do not provide victims with any relief after each devastating episode.

It should be accentuated that Nigeria isn’t new to flood and its chaperon outcomes starting around 2012 when the first of its sort occurred. The floods that occurred in 2022, which impacted numerous regions of the nation, continue to have an impact on the nation.

From the Federal Government’s information, the floods had dislodged over 1.4 million individuals, killed north of 603 individuals, and harmed in excess of 2,400 people, with around 82,035 houses harmed, and 332,327 hectares of land impacted. During such a crisis, food prices skyrocket at a rate of double digits, sometimes exceeding 23%, putting 19 million people at risk of hunger and 14.7 million children at risk of malnutrition.

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Experts explain that the country’s flooding is made worse by the constant water release from Cameroon’s Lagdo Dam. An overabundance of water set free from the dam overflows down Stream Benue and its feeders, flooding networks in the territories of Kogi, Benue as well as others in the upper east. An agreement with Nigerian authorities to construct a second, twin dam in Adamawa State to contain the overflows was made when the Lagdo Dam was built in 1982. It was supposed to be in Dasin Village of the Fufore local government area and was called the Dasin Hausa Dam project. However, it never got built.

It is essential to point out that waste clogs channels due to indiscriminate construction on natural flood plains and stormwater paths and poor drainage systems in many residential areas. This has significantly exacerbated the difficulty posed by persistent flooding. Lax environmental law enforcement exacerbates this problem.

Despite the fact that Nigeria typically experiences seasonal flooding, the government has only issued warnings to residents living close to riverine areas to leave their homes. This is regrettable. The majority of Nigerians who live in floodplains have no other option but to return to their homes once the annual floodwater levels return to normal.

As a result of this scenario, the government shuns its own responsibility and prefers to assign blame after each sporadic disaster. Even though it may sound depressing, 70% of the poor in rural areas live near river banks. Consequently, requesting that they abandon their homes without furnishing them with an option is equivalent to delivering them destitute.

By proposing a concrete and long-lasting solution to the problem, we urge the government to end flooding once and for all. This will require increasing efforts to enforce regulations against building on water lines and drainages, as well as beginning work to clear waste-clogged drainages.

However, the concerned government agencies ought to devise efficient methods for raising public awareness and disseminating information about how to behave in order to limit the negative effects of flooding, particularly among those living in rural communities.

Most importantly, however, we believe that the government should immediately begin construction of a dam to absorb some of the overflowing water, as agreed upon in principle with the Cameroonian government.

With less than 20 days to go before the current administration leaves office, the incoming administration should make it a top priority to keep this in mind because it will not only save lives but also prevent the project’s negative impact on other aspects of the economy.

Flood: Need For Robust Preparation

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