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How To Guard Against Flooding In Nigeria



flooding in nigeria

How To Guard Against Flooding In Nigeria

Flooding is responsible for extreme damage and destruction to property, public areas, and the environment, which incurs enormous costs for the government. The amount of money spent on insurable losses varies depending on the extent of flooding, property type impacted, individual insurance policy, and political circumstances. The amount of money spent on insurable losses varies depending on the size of flooding, property type impacted, individual insurance policy, and political circumstances.

Dams are constructed to serve various purposes such as water supply, flood control and power generation.

Dams and reservoirs can be effectively used to regulate river levels and flooding downstream of the dam by temporarily storing the flood volume and releasing it later. The most effective method of flood control is accomplished by an integrated water management plan for regulating the storage and discharges of each of the main dams located in a river basin. Each dam is operated by a specific water control plan for routing floods through the basin without damage. This means lowering of the reservoir level to create more storage before the rainy season. This strategy eliminates flooding. The number of dams and their water control management plans are established by comprehensive planning for economic development and with public involvement.

Also Read Agency Urges Residents To Prepare Against Flood

There are 323 large, medium and small dams, which have been constructed and are being operational in Nigeria. They have a total storage capacity of more than 30×109 m3. Eighty-five per cent of the larger dams are located in the Sudano-Sahelian zone of the country. Seventy-nine per cent have domestic and industrial water supply components, while 33 per cent have irrigation as a major use to which the stored water is put; 29 per cent are for fisheries, 16 per cent for recreation and 4 per cent are also for hydro-electric power generation. The three largest hydropower dams are under operation and control the flow of the Niger and Kaduna rivers. Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro dams are with a total active capacity of 18.6×109 m3 and total power capacity of 1,920 Mega Watts.

Since 1990, there have been over 30 floods, in each of which either the material losses exceeded $1bn, or the number of fatalities was greater than 1000, or both. Countries such as Bangladesh and China have suffered at least 2,5 million victims in the last 100 years in major floods, according to a research.

The International Monetary Fund also has warned that the recent incidents of flooding in some states in Nigeria will worsen food insecurity and lead to further increase in food prices across the country.

“We are very cognisant of the challenge that the flood of that magnitude and how it affected Nigeria in neighbouring countries. We also recognise Chad and Cameroon have also been hit. And absolutely, you’re totally right in terms of the supply of agricultural production, it is going to drop which will put even further pressure on prices. And in addition, it the floods have affected some of the transportation networks which means makes it even harder for food to transfer into the country or even out in any essence storage.”

The high cost of relief and recovery may adversely impact investment in infrastructure and other development activities in different areas and in certain cases may cripple the frail economy of the region. Recurrent flooding in a region possess the ability to discourage long-term investments by the government and private sector alike. Lack of livelihoods, combined with migration of skilled labour and inflation may have a negative impact on a region’s economic growth. Loss of resources can lead to high costs of goods and services, delaying its development programmes.

Every year West African countries experience heavy downpours, which often result in flooding. The floods in turn bring death, destruction to property and crops and outbreaks of disease. In 2012, the situation worsened dramatically. And the United Nations warns that climate change, increasing urbanization and population growth will further exacerbate the impact of floods in the future.

The UN recommends that countries devise robust programmes to forecast and respond to floods, in order to minimize their impact by organizing prevention, improving planning and speeding reaction times. Such programmes would also help relief agencies coordinate aid distribution more effectively.

According to the Director of the World Bank’s sustainable development department for Africa, Jamal Saghir, “recent events signal a clear need to refocus efforts on flood prevention, not just response.”

Unpredictable weather patterns are here to stay, says Dewald van Niekerk, Director of African disaster studies at South Africa’s North-West University. “What needs to change is our work in pre-disaster preparation,” he says. “People have to understand why it floods. There might be an engineering solution … or there could be an early warning system.”

According to the UN, Disaster managers must recognize that different social groups have different needs when a disaster occurs. Generally, marginalized groups have less social power and fewer economic resources and physical capacity to anticipate, survive and recover from the affects of massive floods. “There is an intrinsic relationship between poverty and vulnerability. In addition, the elderly, the disabled and children are particularly vulnerable, and gender is especially important to flood risk reduction,” it says.

From 1975 to 2000, people who belong to the low-income category accounted for about 50 per cent of those killed in floods with over 90 per cent of all deaths from natural disasters being attributed to waterrelated disasters. Disaster vulnerability and poverty are mutually reinforcing. Factors such as low income, poor housing and public services, lack of social security and insurance coverage force the poor to behave in ways that expose them to greater risk. As the impacts of natural disasters tend to fall disproportionately on the poor, specific policies are required to tackle the link between poverty and disaster vulnerability.

The UN states that it is very important to link disaster management to poverty reduction.

The failure to properly address livelihood issues hampers advancement on mitigating the impacts that result from natural disasters.

Also, lack of capital or wealth accumulation over the long run tends to undermine sustainable development. Recurrent floods and windstorms, for example, not only destroy national wealth, but also hinder efforts to accumulate physical and human capital.

It is important to assess disaster impacts to help governments adjust their financial planning scenarios and economic growth rate projections to offset or reflect the social, economic and environmental impacts of shocks caused by disasters. Such assessments also help to further our understanding of the importance of mitigation measures.

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