Floods are the most frequent type of natural disaster and occur when an overflow of water submerges land that is usually dry. Floods in Nigeria are often caused by heavy rainfall or discharge of water from dams.
Between 80-90% of all documented disasters from natural hazards during the past 10 years have resulted from floods, droughts, tropical cyclones, heat waves and severe storms. Floods are also increasing in frequency and intensity, and the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation is expected to continue to increase due to climate change.
Flooding of areas used for socio-economic activities produces a variety of negative impacts. The magnitude of adverse impacts depends on the vulnerability of the activities and population and the frequency, intensity and extent of flooding. Some of these factors are shown below;
- Loss of lives and property
- Loss of livelihoods
- Decreased purchasing and production power
- Mass migration
- Psychosocial effects
- Hindering economic growth and development.
- Political implications
Across Nigeria, devastating floods continue to ravage farmlands, destroy crops, and force tens of thousands of people to abandon their homes.
At least 300 people have died so far this year, and it’s believed that some 100,000 people have been displaced and are now living in temporary shelters. The flooding has affected an estimated half a million people and destroyed infrastructure and farmland in 27 of Nigeria’s 36 states and the capital city.
Recently, due to increased rainfall and release of water from dams in Cameroun, several states in Nigeria have experienced flooding with devastating consequences. Some areas are immotarable, leading to individuals needing boats and canoes to move from one place to another. Houses have been submerged, lives have been lost and the situation is causing undue hardship on citizens of the state. There has also been an outbreak of what seems to be cholera due to flooding and the resultant contamination of water bodies.
Kano also experienced severe cases of flooding, most notable of which occurred around the major markets destroying millions worth of properties and leading to the death of innocent individuals who were out striving for a means of livelihood.
Unlike some natural disasters, rainfall flooding can be controlled with proper planning and provision of necessary infrastructure. Nigeria’s flooding is mainly human induced with poor urban planning practices and inadequate environmental infrastructure being contributing factors.
Due to floods in various parts of Nigeria, there is an expectant issue with food security. This is attributed to the destruction of farmlands and some areas experienced deposition of sand, bitumen and other substances, making farmland considerable unusable.
There are fears that the combined impact of displacement of people and damage to infrastructure and destruction of farmlands cold lead to a disruption of food supply in Nigeria.
I was once resided in Kano, witnessed the building of drainages by the government at that time. As years passed after the drainages were built, there was noticeable increase of refuse being disposed inside the drainages. At the peak of the 2019 raining season, the area started to get flooded and has progressively gotten worse since then.
There is no flood management policy in Nigeria. The country has continuously operated and after disaster approach but need to find ways to prevent the disaster in the first place. The human induced causes of flooding should be urgently addressed. Failure to do so will significantly delay Nigeria’s journey to sustainable development.
As members of the society, we also have to play our part in maintaining infrastructures and protecting our environments because in the long run, the impacts of our action or inactions will be felt by us we need to take charge and take responsibility for what happens around us and protect the environment for ourselves, our children and future generations.