Natural phenomena or events that usually cause disastrous damage to human properties and sometimes lead to loss of lives are referred to as natural disasters.
Notable among these natural disasters are floods, hurricanes, earth quark, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, oil spillage, pandemics, etc. These disasters when occurred always cause a lot of damage, to individuals, communities, towns, states, and nations.
Flood being one of the major and common natural disasters has wrecked a lot of havoc on mankind for ages.
What then floods?
However, according to the oxford advanced learners’ English dictionary, a flood is simply an overflow of a large amount of water beyond its normal limits, especially over what is normally dry land.
In digression, a flood can be seen as a natural disaster that usually occurs as a result of too much water in a location, prolonged rainfall from a storm, rapid melting of large amounts of snow or ice, or the bursting of dams or levees. Floods mostly occur during the rainy or summer season any, and it can occur in any place. Its disaster is not limited to any particular region.
In Nigeria, the incident of flood has become an annual disaster, owing to the fact that there is no year that will pass without a flood occurring in one place or the other within the 36 states of the federation. This hence has called for national and international concern.
MAJOR CAUSES OF FLOOD IN NIGERIA
Nigeria as a nation has suffered a lot from floods, and as a country with two major seasons, dry and rainy within the tropical west African region, some of the major causes of floods are as follows.
Poor Drainage Management System.
Sometimes, some of the small things that we do overlook usually contribute to great loss and disasters. Drainage is known to offer a good channel to the flowing or running water. When there is much rainfall, it is obvious that water will accumulate, riverbanks will overflow, and subsequently submerge surroundings. In this case, one of the major solutions is drainages, which will enable the water to flow directly into the provided channels. But it is quite unfortunate that most places do not even have a common gutter let alone of a well-organized drainage system. Our government should be proactive with regard to this and ensure good drainage systems are included in their respective town planning.
It is also disheartening that in the cases where the government has provided those channels and drainage systems many people have blocked them with a lot of refuse dumps and debris, which will not allow the water to flow away.
To successfully control floods, the government and the concerned authorities should provide drainages and ensure proper management and maintenance at and when due.
Floods rarely occur in dry seasons. It occurs mostly during rainy season. Whenever there is prolonged rainfall, in a place, it is likely that water will excessively accumulate and submerge those surroundings. This is noticeable in some states within the Nigerian coastal areas like Kogi, Lagos, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Benue, Cross River states and many more. These states sometimes experience more than 7 days of consecutive rains. Some even have a rainy season all year round. If this is the case residents of such an area are expected to be at alert and prepare for the incident and the best way to survive it.
Overflowing Of The Riverbanks.
On the other hand, there are places that have normal rainfall within the rainy season, but because they have a link to one or two major rivers which when it overflows its bank will cause great flood in that area. A case study is Ebonyi state in south-eastern Nigeria. Major parts of Ikwo LGA in Ebonyi State do experience flood whenever river cross of Cross River State has overflown its bank thereby causing much water to outflow to the nearest places. This has been a long experience which always make the people of this area to be having floods which cause them damages of livestock and loss of farm products. In the same vein, when the two major rivers of Nigeria, rivers Benue and Niger has overflown their banks its of no doubt that flood will occur uncontrollably.
Opening Of Dams
A dam is a structure intentionally constructed to serve as a reservoir for excessive water. Its major role is to generate electricity in the water turbine, store water for agricultural use, and flood control. Indeed dams play a vital role in flood control. However, a little opening of this dam can lead to an excessive flowing of water to the host community and beyond.
For example, the effect of the present flood ravaging most parts of Nigeria like Kogi State now is as a result of the intentional opening of Lagdo Dam by the Camerounian authorities to relax the pressure on the dam, without prior information to the Nigerian authorities, knowing fully well that the duo shares a common boundary. The effect of this action is too much on Nigerians, hence it should be done on a condition of the agreement.
Due to deforestation, the water-holding capacity of the soil decreases. The roots of the trees get dried after they’re cut down. The movement of water through trees into the soil slows down. The water of the rainfall collects on the surface which results in flood. However, they should be controlled form of deforestation to avoid in order to control flood.
EFFECT OF FLOOD
The effect of a flood is obvious, quite alarming, and cannot be over-emphasized. As a natural disaster, any place it hit will continue to count loss upon loss, ranging from stop to economic activities like going to market and other business-related activities, academic activities and many more others. Livestock, properties, and investments are always destroyed by flood, human lives in most cases notwithstanding are not an exception.
The effect of floods brings hunger and starvation not only to the place affected but also to their neighbouring town and states. It brings economic hardship to the people and general backwardness as many things will have to start from square one.
In the present case of Kogi state now in Nigeria, it is obvious that the land, infrastructure, and business establishment have been badly devastated.
- Floods, though a natural disaster can be prevented in a number of ways. Amongst this, number one is proper planning both individual, community, town, cities, states, and as a nation. With proper planning on the ground, we can avert floods to some extent or control it. Meanwhile, below are some of the major ways to avoid flooding.
- Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET), should be providing the citizens and the government with proper information and weather forecasting on time in order to make proper planning in a way to control and manage flood when it occurs.
- In a situation where a flood occurs National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) should be provided with enough funds by the government in order to rescue and provide temporal camps for the flood victims.
- States and Federal government should endeavor to provide good welfare for the victims of flood during and after the incident to enable them to cushion the negative effect the disaster must have caused.
- There should be proper drainage planning and maintenance. The government should also provide control measures to checkmate irregularities of those that may attempt the blockage of drainage channels with debris and refuse.
- In the case of opening a dam like the Lagdo Dam of Cameroun, it should be a bilateral agreement between both parties concerned to ensure that the necessary measures must have been put in place before the opening. This will make each end not suffer the loss at the long run.
- People living in coastal areas should be on alert being conscious of their environment to evacuate their belongings in any peradventure. Again, the settlement close to the riverine areas should be discouraged.
- There should be controlled deforestation, especially in the riverine areas.