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EDITORIAL: Now that the rains are here

Flood in Ilorin
In early July last year precisely on the eve of yearly Muslims fasting period, a heavy downpour characterized by windstorms destroyed property and flooded away some structures in Ilorin the state capital.

People were killed in that disastrous flood; many people were displaced and rendered homeless. That year Kwara State on Emergency and Relief Service office, under the then Special Adviser on Emergency and Relief Service, Hon. Abdullahi Duro Mohammed paid sympathy visit to some of the flood affected victims in the state.

The floods were termed as the worst in recent years as the estimated damages and losses caused by the floods cannot be quantify.Also, during that year raining season, residents woke up in many parts of the state especially Ilorin economic nerve centre, Kwara to find their streets and homes flooded and their properties submerged. The incident showed dramatic and even bizarre scenes of flooding in the some major cities in the state including the capture of a Baboko new market in the ancient city of Ilorin.
Also, Patigi a boundary town of Niger state suffered its own flooding challenge in July of that same year.In Oro kingdom, heavy windstorm blown away many houses and others collapsed and the residents of Okelele, Oja-Gboro, Oloje, Adeta and others got their share from disaster.In all these incidents, the cause was attributed to a combination of two events:  heavy rainfall and the release of excess water from the Lagdo Dam in nearby Cameroon.

Although the degree and seriousness of flooding in Kwara State fluctuates, the phenomenon remains like are curing decimal in most parts of the state.But in our considered opinion, the first factor aggravating flooding is climate change which has been shown to contribute to more extreme storms and rainfall.

Another factor is unbridled and rapid urban growth or even more of poor planning. Urbanization and industrialization increase the number of roads and buildings. This in turn increases the proportion of surface area where water cannot be absorbed into the ground,leading to rapid runoff which then causes flooding during the rains.

However, the problem of flooding is not peculiar to Kwara alone. In 2007, floods affected people across the state, Alluvial flooding is common for major rivers, such as Nile, Niger, Benue, Orange, Zambezi. Major cities in Nigeria are also susceptible to fluvial flooding which occurs when excessive rainfall, over an extended period of time, causes rivers to overflow.

Rainfall patterns in Nigeria suggests that rainstorms are getting more intense. The data shows that there are fewer rainy days, yet the total yearly amounts of rainfall have not changed much from previous decades.  This means that more rain is falling on the days that there is rain, which in turn means that rain storms in the city are getting more intense,increasing the threat of flooding.

In addition to more rain storms, the other possible cause of flooding in coastal regions is rising sea levels.Although up-to-date data on the rising sea levels in Nigeria are scarce, it’s believed that if nothing is done, this is likely to aggravate flooding in the future particularly in coastal cities.

Areas at risk include Lagos, which is on the coast, as well as the Niger Delta region which has many low-lying towns and villages. Being on the coast also makes these places more susceptible to storm surges.While these areas are no stranger to floods, evidence suggests that floods have become increasingly common and intense in recent times.

In the northern parts of the state, heavy rains are likely to cause rivers to overflow their banks, in some cities, the most common cause of flooding after excessive rains is poor drainage systems that can’t cope. It’s clear, in our view, which the state needs to take measures to cope with flooding.

This will require both local and state interventions, and could include early warning and rapid response systems the government.The state can learn from mothers cities where various measures have been implemented to reduce the impact of flooding.Such measures include:emergency control centre, automated weather stations, removal of solid waste from water drains and the development of emergency response mechanisms.

Kudos must be given to the Nigeria Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki who fixed some water drainage systems in his constituency.We urge the authorities concerned to invest in these flood prevention and control mechanisms and sustain them.

EDITORIAL: Now that the rains are here Reviewed by nationalmoonlight on October 05, 2019 Rating: 5

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