PROPERTIES worth millions of naira were on February 25, 2023 destroyed by rainstorm that wreaked havoc on Ago-Paanu, a sleekly community in Owo Local Government area of Ondo State. The heavy downpour which was the first in the community this year was accompanied by turbulent wind that blew off many rooftops and destroyed properties. Globally, climate change, deforestation, weak building designs, and lack of proper planning of the environment are the major causes of rainstorms.
EARLY this year, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) in its seasonal prediction hinted that the earliest rains would likely occured on or around March 2, 2023 in the coastal zones of south-south states of Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom, and Rivers. The onset date, according to NiMet, is expected to increase latitudinally with the ITD northward oscillation as the year progresses. The inland cities of the south are therefore likely to have onset in April while areas around the central states are likely to have onset in May. Other appropriate agencies advised states in the country to be on the alert and proactive. That was as far as the proactive measures went.
UNFORTUNATELY, public enlightenment on safety concerns is never taken seriously in Nigeria until tragedy strikes. Otherwise, the lessons of the 2012 flooding and similar experiences afterwards were enough for states at risk to heed the red flags and at least take proactive measures. Though, rains are expected to bring joy and sweet memories but at times comes with collateral damages due to human and natural factors. The rate at which rainstorms sabotage and extirpate buildings over the years is quite alarming and staggering. Rainstorms have been a bane and blip to residential buildings in Nigeria and the world entirely. Rainstorms have tampered with the existence of buildings and has been a nocuous occurrence.
THE negative impact of rainstorms can never be underestimated while discussing buildings in Nigeria generally especially on buildings in urban areas where such impacts are often extensive. Usually, the negativeconsequences of the environmental risk of storms or hail events are usually underrated. Moreover, the intensification of excessive weather events due to the change in climate including the rising physical susceptibility of assets are going to engender an increase of impacts on the inhabited environment. It is pertinent that most damages are evitable if the exposed constructions become more flexible. Any adaptations require expertise on the demanding damage processes to examine the inadequacies and to lessen the physical susceptibility of building constructions exposed to heavy rainstorms.
THE Hope commends the Ondo State government for its swift response to Owo rainstorm victims. We however urge the government to provide them temporary shelters while efforts are being made to rebuild their houses. We also call for synergy among the state and local governments to provide succour for the affected residents. While we are urging the State government to engage in mortgage policy for good shelters, our appeal also goes to well-meaning individuals and religious bodies to assist rainstorm victims in the said community.
SINCE the negative impact of a rainstorm depends virtually on the physical susceptibility of buildings, The Hope urges Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) and other regulating agencies to live up to expectation by adequately monitoring and inspecting roofing materials because the roof obviously is the first line of defense against most weather conditions. To forestall future occurrence as the rainy season has just begun, The Hope appeals to the State government to embark on public sensitisation and awareness on the need for residents to have a well-running drainage system to protect building foundations.
WE also appeal to the State government to focus more on proper planning of the environment rather than concentrating on land used charges from buildings that endangered residents’ lives because of faulty foundations. As regular as rainstorms of this magnitude have become across the State, it is important that the state begins to identify policy measures or action plans to checkmate it, since it cannot be totally stopped. Apart from government initiatives, residents should as well be encouraged to plant trees to mitigate the effects of rainstorm. This is because trees serve as wind breakers to storms. Also, residents should avoid building on identified wind routes because such buildings are a disaster waiting to happen.
To mitigate the negative effects of rainstorms havoc in our communities, concerted and coordinated efforts are required from the government and the governed and both should play their roles accordingly.
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