Preventing Flooding in Ondo
THE Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), at the beginning of every year always provides information on flood flash points to enable states and some Nigerians living in the flood points to brace up for likely flooding.
IN spite of this annual ritual of flood forecasts and alerts, the country has continuously lost lives and properties to flood. This is largely due to noncompliance with the flood alert and warnings of the agency as well as bad environmental practices by Nigerians.
THE Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) was initiated in 2013 by the Federal Government following the 2012 flood disaster that wreaked havoc in the country, destroying thousands of lives and properties worth millions. Since 2013, NIHSA has continually issued flood warnings and alerts to states.
ACCORDING to the National Emergency Management Agency in 2018, about 441,251 people were affected by flood in about 50 local government areas in Nigeria,192 people sustained injuries as a result of the flood, with a total of 108 lives lost to the disaster. Kogi 118,199, Kebbi (94,991), Anambra (64,331) and Niger states (51,719).
THIS year, the agency has again issued alert to states including Ondo and Nigerians generally, saying that there is a probability that a total of 600 local government areas in the country will witness flooding when the rainy season begins in full. Ondo state is one of the categorized “high flood risk areas” expecting imminent flooding.
THE agency predicted that people in Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Ondo and Lagos states will witness high flooding due to the rise in sea level and tidal surge while river flooding is expected in Niger, Benue, Sokoto–Rima, Anambra-Imo, Cross River, Niger Delta, Komadougu-Yobe , Ogun- Osun River basins .
RECENTLY, there was a sea surge from the Atlantic Ocean which affected Ayetoro community in Ilaje local government area of Ondo State. The sea incursion rendered many people homeless . This situation is pathetic and worrisome as it greatly affected the economic activities and livelihoods of the people of the community. There is need for urgent response to guard against another surge through flooding as rains are fast approaching.
UNDOUBTEDLY flood prone areas or regions always suffer devastating effects in view of this hazard. For example, physical structures such as houses, roads and bridges are destroyed ,leading to a halt in socio-economic activities in such areas. There is also a devastating effect on the potable water in the affected area and at times lives are lost. On the livelihood of the inhabitants of the areas, the incident has a negative impact on majority of the inhabitants as a great percentage may have their key livelihood sources affected.
THE Hope believes that there is the need for state and local governments to always match early warning with quick action by introducing flood control programmes such as clearing of drainages and canals to ensure free flow of water, construction of new drainages where necessary, preventing building construction on waterways and relocating those living along flood plains to safer areas. Also, indiscriminate refuse disposal should stop, especially when it rains, while people living in riverrine areas be warned not to construct residential structures on flood plains as these areas are an extension of the river space.
THE local government areas should be encouraged to dredge river channels and canals and construct/create a buffer (or detention basins) in their constituencies.
TO mitigate the impact of flooding, The Hope believes there is a need to close the knowledge gap around the issue of floods among the decision and policymakers and planners at the state and local levels.
THERE should be improved synergy among all the government agencies in Ondo State, for example the State Emergency Management Agency , Ministry of Environment and other agencies whose activities are related to flood prevention as well as the prompt sensitisation of the public as a measure for flood early warning and flood disaster prevention.
WHAT is left for Nigeria and stakeholders is to take very seriously the predictions to avert flooding .
THE Hope recommends the need to seriously educate citizens to imbibe attitudinal change towards the warnings for flood prevention by government agencies and desist from unethical culture and traditional beliefs.
WE also call for the removal of refuse, weeds, water hyacinths and floats from water channels. The State Ministry of Environment has some roles to play by also removing refuse on all avenues for river run-offs so as to allow free flow of flood waters .This exercise must be undertaken down to grassroots, and there should be modification of settlements to withstand floods by putting up flood barriers.