Thursday, March 13, 2014

A MUST READ: Flooding, Lagos Residents' Nightmare


It is not full-blown rainy season in Nigeria yet. But tension is already high over flooding among residents of Lagos.
 * A file picture
As people await the coming of the wet seasons, many residents have called while others are still calling on the government to fast track action and put in place structures which would ensure that flood does not destroy property or result in the loss of lives as witnessed in past years.
This fear was expressed against the background of projected varying degrees and amount of rainfall in various parts of the country this year as released by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET.
An early morning rainfall that occurred in most part of the state on Tuesday disrupted activities and movement came to a snail speed across Lagos.
A commuter, Lanre Akinbosun was worried that “What happened this morning (Tuesday) is not good omen for us at all.
“Imagine the break in activities that this rain caused, the city came to a standstill. What will the situation be when rain becomes constant? I hope the state and federal governments are watching the situation.”
For Ebere Odochi, a trader, who runs a shop in Yaba, Lagos, she believes self-effort is the panacea to a flood-free rainy season.
She called on all Lagosians, especially Landlord associations in various communities, to work together during this rainy period in order to ensure that all gutters in their areas are cleared and channelled properly before the heavy rains begin.

As an appeal, a nurse with a private clinic in Bariga area of Lagos, who gave her name simply as Yetunde, called on the state government to embark on aggressive dis-silting of drainage systems.
“Government should work hard to clear these gutters of the dirt in them. Some of them are totally blocked, so unless you clean them, when the rains come in full, the effect will be grave for people living here.
“If you saw what happened this morning (Tuesday), you will understand what I’m talking about,” she said referring to pools of water on the streets.
 The heavy downpour resulted in stagnant waters across many areas of Lagos which in turn cause traffic jams. This is usually nightmarish for Lagosians.
 These are not the only talking points when the rains are heavy. The fear of ocean surge is also germane.
 And with the effect of climate change already being felt, many people believe that if gutters are not dis-silted, refuse properly disposed off and sanitation brought to the front burner, the rains already predicted to be high in some parts of Nigeria may have a devastating toll on Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre.
 The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research is also thinking about the effect of flood later in the year when floods are expected to become constant.
 In a symposium it organised late last year, tagged “Humanitarian Disaster Risk Management: A Case Study of Flooding in Nigeria,” the organisation brought experts together to brainstorm on the possible ways of curtailing the effects of flood.
 At the occasion, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate implored researchers to find ways of cushioning the effects or prevent flooding in the country.
 He also called on the researchers to develop a template for mapping out strategies for implementation.
 Now that the rains are here, one can only hope those saddled with the responsibilities to put in place structures that would prevent the kind of flooding experienced in the country in recent times would not wait till the last seconds before they realise that time waits for nobody.

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