• Monday, April 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Explainer: How Nigeria can better manage flooding

Climate-induced flooding crisis, disaster forecasts, and the risks to supply chain: The Nigerian case study

Despite predictions and forecasts from local and international research bodies about flooding in states in Nigeria this year, floods have continued to wreak havoc, destroying farmlands in different parts of the country.

Most, if not all of the incidents, were not prevented, albeit predicted.

According to Ibrahim Kabiru, president of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency unveiled its annual weather predictions as early as February this year, to warn of the shocks that would arise from climate change, and result in flooding in about 32 states.

This prediction, according to him, was supported by the Hydrological Management Agency.

In response, some desilting work in blocked drains was done in quite a few urban areas to mitigate flooding. Farmers were also advised not to plant across flood-prone planes.

“Climate change is real and if care is not taken the whole world will be contending with a colossal disaster, God forbid,” Kabiru said.

Read also: Middle Belt flooding: Outsourcing responsibility, Nigerian style

“In the US, even lives were lost in floods regardless of the level of predictions! In Pakistan, over 1,000 lives were lost at a point and finally, two-thirds of the country is submerged,” he added.

However, in the Nigerian setting, it has been suggested that a lot more can be done especially by the State governments, to prevent shocks like these.

Irrigation systems around major and clusters of farmlands

This is not something that can be achieved by individuals, experts say. They are key/major projects that the government naturally should embark upon and execute. Large water channels will ensure that rainfall or flood moves into major rivers like the Niger.

“The state government is where the initiative should start from. Not everything should be left in the hands of the Federal government,” Tajudeen Ibrahim, director of research and strategy at ChapelHill Denham, said.

“We have the Minister of Water Resources, we have ministries and bodies that are in charge of this kind of thing; they should execute major plans around that.”

More effective waste management

After the right water channels are ensured, irresponsible dumping of wastes on water channels can clog them up, and prevent flow, causing flood incidence.

Experts strongly recommend that the government should punish defaulters. According to a report by the United Nations Environment Program where the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) was referenced, flood-related catastrophes have increased by 134 percent since 2000 compared with the two previous decades.

The WMO report makes a strong case for investing in integrated water resources management, a comprehensive framework for managing water resources and balancing social and economic needs while protecting ecosystems, such as wetlands, that mitigate flooding.