TRUE to the warnings back in July by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET, that the shift in the rainfall pattern might cause unusual flooding in many parts of the country, the floods have really come down heavily this year, often with high casualty aftermaths.
Apart from the usual floods caused by poor management of the environment such as the blockage of drainage channels, erection of buildings along the paths of running surface water, as well as flooding along major river banks due to the release of water from dams, the World Meteorological Organisation, WMO, had declared 2017 as the hottest non-El-nino year in the recorded history of the globe.
This had triggered severe weathers around the world in form of floods, hurricanes and heat waves.
Though the outlook for this year was predicted to be much milder, still severe flooding claimed no fewer than 49 lives with 20 people declared missing and over 2,000 declared missing in Jibia, Katsina State in July.
Only last week(Thursday August 30, 2018), the Minister of State for the Environment, Alhaji Ibrahim Jibril, informed the National Economic Council, NEC, presided over by Vice- President Yemi Osinbajo, that before the end of this year’s rainy season 20 per cent of Nigerians still stand the risk of “one form of flooding or the other”.
The main point here is that both the government and people of Nigeria should bear it in mind that flooding, which is a worldwide phenomenon, is an annual ritual which should never take us unawares, whether or not NIMET or other government agencies issue their routine warnings. Our preparation for the floods should no longer be a fire brigade, panic measure which we resort to when the danger is upon us. It should be a continuous activity. We must work hard during the dry season in order to be safe when the rains come.
We appreciate the intention of the Anambra State Government to build 28 shelters or displaced persons’ camps to cater for those living along major river banks and flood-prone areas. We have for long canvassed that this measure be adopted knowing that floods have become inevitable. Any government that respects and cares for its citizens will not fold its arms and watch people being chased out of their homes by floods with nowhere to go. Governments at all levels must come together to provide temporary shelters, food and medicine for displaced persons, while working very hard to tackle the causes of flooding.
The Federal Government has already accepted recommendations to partner with the states to set up a Federal Projects Coordinating Unit to implement flood prevention, mitigation and preparedness programmes.
We hope these and other necessary measures will be quickly implemented to secure the people from the annual flood menace.