• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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BusinessDay

Flood: Too much to handle

Flood: Too much to handle

It’s interesting to think about how nursery rhymes reflect changing times and climate conditions. The rhyme “Rain, rain, go away, come again another day, little Johnny wants to play” may not be as relevant now with the heatwaves happening in some parts of the world. The extreme temperatures we’re experiencing are indeed a result of climate change. Rain is crucial for agriculture and shaping ecosystems, but it also has its pros and cons. It’s important to consider the impact of weather patterns on our environment.

In April 2024, severe thunderstorms struck the United Arab Emirates, leading to heavy flooding in Dubai. Reports indicated that Dubai experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall, equivalent to a year and a half’s worth, in just a few hours.

Q: “Flood predictions and early warning systems are crucial for managing flood risks and minimising their impact on lives, properties, and infrastructure.”

Floods have caused widespread damage in various countries, from China to Brazil, Kenya to Tanzania, the Philippines, India, and Indonesia. In Brazil, helicopters are being used to search for stranded individuals in heavily affected areas, with some areas being too severe for helicopters to land and residents needing to be winched to safety.

In Nigeria, the Federal Government has notified 31 states and the Federal Capital Territory about potential flooding between April and November. Are these regions fully prepared for the upcoming floods?

Flood predictions and early warning systems are crucial for managing flood risks and minimising their impact on lives, properties, and infrastructure. It is important to assess the readiness of infrastructural facilities and emergency response teams to effectively support society during flooding events.

Are states prepared to demolish buildings on flood channels, relocate residents, and clear drainages to prevent flooding? The 2024 Annual Flood Outlook indicates that 148 local government areas in 31 states are at high risk of flooding, while another 249 LGAs in 36 states and the FCT are at moderate risk.

In 2022, the World Bank estimated the damage from flooding to residential and non-residential buildings, infrastructure, the productive sector, and farmlands at $6.68 billion. This year, the high flood-risk areas are expected to experience significant impacts on the population, agriculture, livelihoods, livestock, infrastructure, and the environment. Coastal flooding is anticipated in states like Lagos, Delta, Cross River, Ondo, Rivers, and Bayelsa due to rising sea levels and tidal surges, potentially affecting fishing, wildlife habitats, and river navigation.

Flooding is a common natural disaster in many parts of the world, including Nigeria, with severe impacts on vulnerable citizens living along river banks. The National Economic Council Ad-hoc Committee on Flood Mitigation, Adaptation, Preparedness, and Response has been inaugurated by the President to develop a roadmap for enhancing Nigeria’s flood mitigation, preparedness, adaptation, and response capabilities.

Many states have already implemented strategies to mitigate the impact of flooding in their areas, including increased flood control measures and drainage maintenance. Lagos State and other states are also focusing on solid waste management to prevent flooding.

An extreme solar storm hits Earth:

In a related development, weather experts have warned that the world will experience the most powerful solar storms in more than 20 years, with potential disruptions to power grids and satellite communications. In a technology-dependent world, a geomagnetic storm of this nature could cause widespread electrical disruptions, blackouts, and damage to critical infrastructure.

Fluctuating magnetic fields associated with geomagnetic storms induce currents in long wires, including power lines, which can cause blackouts. While long pipelines can become electrified, The most recent geomagnetic storm, G5, which occurred sometime this year, was reported to have triggered power outages in Sweden and damaged transformers in South Africa. All agencies in the country operating power plants and satellite devices in orbit are to take the necessary precautions. Thank you.

MA Johnson, Rear Admiral (Rtd)