Averting flood in prone areas
By Maria Famakinwa
Rainy season comes with immense pleasure as it provides a relief from heat which characterise the dry season. Aside this, rainy season helps in curbing the problem of water scarcity. Farmers rejoice during the season to see their crops in full bloom.
Trees and plants get adequate water, turn greener and brighter. The season that comes with much excitement replenishes ground waters, wells, lakes and ponds become full from the rain water.
However, despite many benefits of the season, its blessing can turn to pain in areas prone to flood. Flooding is a serious condition that can cause fatalities and serious injuries. It can overwhelm communities in just a matter of minutes. Though, flood is a disaster but could be predicted, tamed and averted. Unfortunately, many people disregard the important measures of flood prevention.
An environmentalist, Mr Emmanuel Yerma recently advised the Federal Government to urgently alert the public on likely early flood to forestall flood disaster in flood prone areas due to sign of early rains across the country as he maintained that flood disaster could only be mitigated through installation of Flood Warning System. The Hope spoke with some residents of Akure, the Ondo State capital living in flood prone areas on steps taken to prevent flood as the rainy season is setting in.
A trader living in Omoniyi area of Agbogbo in Akure, Mrs Rashidat Kareem explained that flood has become a recurring decimal causing untold hardship and pains to residents in the area. “The rain that fell last year rendered some landlords homeless and also destroyed many properties. In order to prevent such terrible experience this year, the landlords held a meeting and contributed money to construct drainages in the community.
“Residents of the community were also advised to desist from the habit of dumping refuse in the water ways and the need to maintain clean environment at all times. To ensure compliance, we forced people to dutifully observed the monthly sanitation exercise mandated by the state government and make sure that the water ways are not block with refuse. There must be cooperation among the residents to achieve this which is why we organised monthly meeting to discuss the way forward, so that, the community will be safe during rainy season.”
In the submission of an artisan, Mr Gboyega Oluwole who lives in Ajebamidele area of Isikan in Akure lamented the pains that torrential rain of last year brought upon the people as he appealed to the State Governor to come to their aids. “Fear always envelope people in this area whenever rainy season is approaching due to the past experiences. Many house owners in this area had since abandoned their building to guarantee their safety. You can see things for yourself that most buildings in this area are being abandoned. Vehicles and motorcycles find it difficult to access the road during rainy season”
Mr Oluwole who linked the problem to lack of proper drainage and violations of town planning laws said that government intervention remains the only solution to avert flood. “It is only government that can force people to do the right thing. For instance, any time it rains heavily, flood from other streets find there way to our area because the street is sloppy without proper drainage, that often lead to destruction of property, but with the help of government, residents can be compelled to construct drainages for free flow of water.”
A resident of Odi-Olowo in Arakale, Mr Idowu Obawumi blamed indiscriminate dumping of waste as hindrance to free flow of water and revealed that the community has embarked on sensitizing the residents against dumping waste in the water ways to prevent flood. “We know that Odi -Olowo is a flood prone area and once we notice the gathering of clouds send shivers down our spines because of the previous experiences that had rendered many homeless.
“To forestall recurrence, we held a meeting and decided to contribute money to construct more drainages. When there is channelisation of streams and water, it will go a long way to reduce flood. We cannot continue to depend on the government since we are the one who lives in the area and feel the pains, that is why we contributed to construct drainages hoping that they will reduce to its bearest minimum the menace of flood in the area.
“I will also seize the opportunity to call on the Ministries of Environment, Land and Housing and the State Government to do more by educating the residents across the state on steps to prevent flood. I am saying this because flood is avoidable if we do the needful. Take for instance, most building in the state fell short of the town planning laws which allow not less than 15 metres set back from the bank of the river before commencement of development. Many landlords do not consider construction of drainages as a necessary steps to prevent flood why some people believe that the best time to dispose their refuse is when it is raining. These are what the people must be educated on to prevent lost of lives and property yearly recorded as a result of flood because the government cannot do this alone. “
A civil servant who resides in Ondo road area of Agunloye, Mrs Bimpe Omodara revealed that the area was nothing to write home about during rainy season and added that efforts so far made by the residents had not yielding expected result as the drainage constructed was often blocked. “We plan yearly to prevent flood in this area but it seems that our best is not good enough. When the rain is not much, we are not really affected but whenever it rains heavily, drainages are blocked with waste.”
On efforts to correct this, she said, “The Landlord Association in the area held a meeting with other Landlords in other areas so as to educate people in their communities to desist from dumping waste in the water ways. They also deliberate on the importance of drainage as a way to fight and prevent flood. This has been yielding positive results because some Landlords have started constructing drainages.”
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