· Continued from yesterday

Nigerians should work with the metrological information from NIMet to avert recurring disasters

Lagos State has a comprehensive master plan for drainage systems. But recent developments in certain areas, such as Agungi, have outpaced the existing infrastructure. These developments include the reclamation of wetlands and building on water channels by property speculators who disregard town planning regulations. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has demonstrated the political will to reverse this ugly trend. Through the renewed efforts to regenerate the environment, illegal structures are being removed from drainages and with the drains desilted. But if there is any lesson from last Wednesday’s deluge, it is that there be a national plan to tackle the challenge of nature.

As already predicted by NiMet, there is more rain to come that will lead to the release of water from the Oyan River Dam in Abeokuta North local government area of Ogun State and from the Lagdo dam in Cameroon, which on account of its location on the Benue River, in the Niger basin, floods Nigeria on its way to the Atlantic Ocean. Authorities in the 36 states therefore have enough time to prepare adequate measures against the elements to avert another tragedy.  Blocked drains, especially in areas where flood waters easily accumulate and generate a strong force, should be cleared, and subsequently kept free. These and other measures must be taken to minimize our individual and collective vulnerability.

The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Joseph Utsev confirmed at the weekend that 18 states and the FCT, Abuja, are likely going to be affected by river flooding this month. So far, more than 10 States and the FCT have experienced one degree of flooding or the other with several casualties recorded including displacement of people and loss of property. But the minister has revealed no plans for those who are going to be displaced. Another challenge which stakeholders should reflect upon concerns reducing the alarming post-harvest losses in the agricultural sector. These losses that traditionally occur during the peak of the rain season are detrimental to the country’s economy. It is one thing to have bumper harvest during the rainy season, but it is another thing to have the capacity to preserve the harvest for immediate gains of the farmers during the high demand for food that follows the dry season.

Nigerians must begin to take seriously the metrological information from NIMet to avert recurring natural disasters. The annual seasonal climate prediction report provides critical information to help guide decision-making across all sectors of the economy. According to NiMet, there is possibility of isolated flash floods in areas that are prone to flooding and drought in some northern states where the rainy season is expected to be short. Farmers will feel the brunt of devastating consequences of both, with impact on food security and the economy. Farmers are by the report urged to adopt moisture conservation techniques to mitigate crop losses during the wet season. In the coastal areas, we advise all stakeholders to take this alert seriously because farms, roads, bridges, and homes can be submerged by rainfalls that provide significant flooding.

Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters in terms of human hardship and economic loss, and they have caused untold damage in the last couple of years, especially with prolonged rainfall over several days. Therefore, we implore all the relevant authorities to prepare for the rains with great diligence. Individuals and groups living on Flood Plains should be evacuated or made to stay away from the potential dangers of their places of abode. The focus should be on prevention and pre-emptive intervention because little is gained when resources that should be put into developmental initiatives are wasted in dealing with avoidable emergencies and calamities.

Related Articles