FLOODING: A MENACE TO THE FAMILY AND THE SOCIETY
The May edition of the Institute of Child Health University of Benin Monthly Seminar was delivered By Ms Omolara Famuyiwa . She is a Guidance Counselor, a Research Fellow-II in the Institute of Child Health, University of Benin, Benin city was presented on Thursday 28th May, 2015. This seminar is presented below:
Flooding occurs, when an area of land that is usually dry is covered with water after a heavy rain fall or after a river or lake flows over it’s banks. The agonies of flood have become the lot of almost every Nigerian, in various communities that have experienced flooding, tales of woes and pains (menace) followed every heavy down pour. This has created a great burden for world leaders, that was why the issue of environment ran neck and neck with matters of economy and poverty at the 2012 meeting of the eight world’s most developed economies otherwise known as the G8 submit in Japan. The major concern is that the world may be getting close to extinction through natural disasters unless immediate actions are taken. The signs are just too apparent to be ignored.
CAUSES OF FLOODING
Climatic change: (global warming): Global warming is the gradual rise in the earth’s temperature caused by high levels of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, such as Carbon dioxide (CO2) methane, nitrous oxide. They are also known as the Greenhouse gases.
Heavy rainfall: This could be another great cause of flooding especially when there is no proper means to let go excess water. When there is continuous heavy downpour for hours, all water bodies get filled and spill over their boundaries into places they would not ordinarily have been, such as highway, streets, houses.
Poor dredging of inland waterways: Natural and man-made inland waterways if not dredged regularly, reduces the capacity to hold large volumes of water coming from land. Dredging entails removal of excess sand and other debris from the bottom of any water body in other to accommodate more volumes of water, thereby allowing free flow of water.
Poor drainage systems: Drainages are meant to effectively empty houses, streets of unwanted water. We can understand that coastal towns are prone to floods. But how do we account for floods in inland areas such as Benin in Edo State, and other states? Roads are constructed without drainage systems, such roads do not last for a long time. This has been a big problem to the environmental sector of Nigeria.
Poor town planning: People construct houses and landed properties on the roads, improper places and sometimes directly on sewerage systems. Environmental hazards can be nipped in the bud before they escalate, if our towns are properly planned. A good town planning has a resultant effect of a clean and healthy environment.
Refuse dump: Indiscriminate dumping of refuse in unauthorized place is damaging to the environment. People dump refuse in streets, drainage systems without realizing the danger they pose to the society. These eventually result in great floods.
The lagdo dam flooding: One cannot talk about flooding in Nigeria without mentioning the perennial flooding of some parts of Nigeria as a result of the Lagdo Dam water release.
The Lagdo Dam was built in 1982 on the Adamawa Plateau in the Northern province of Cameroun along the River Benue course. The problem of flooding along the basin has been on for years but that of 2012 seems to have been the highest.
EFFECTS OF FLOODING ON THE FAMILY/SOCEITY
- Human lives and properties worth millions of Nigeria have been lost to flooding. There is a general feeling of hopelessness and helplessness.
- The effects of flooding on the family are indescribable and cannot be quantified. People are turned into refugees in their own country.
- Families are rendered homeless separated, demoralized, disillusioned, devastated and dehumanized.
- Displaced families are settled in camps, make shifts tents in deplorable conditions.
- Women and children are the most vulnerable and worst hit.
- Children and teenagers are temporarily put out of school.
- Children are exposed to infectious and communicable diseases due to lack of basic amenities such as food, water and good shelter.
- Young girls are brutalized, raped and traumatized, this could have a life long effect on victims.
- This has led to unwanted pregnancy, teenage pregnancy and premature death of the girl-child.
- The case is particularly pathetic for expectant mothers, the sick and old people. They are exposed to harsh weather conditions hunger and thirst.
- This has resulted in the increase in the rate of maternal and child mortality. Some are maimed in the process, this last group are inconsolable throughout life.
- The menace of flooding can be curbed if we all join hands together to keep our environment clean
- When you throw garbage into the drainage hoping that the rains would wash it down, then you should know that the flood downstream is necessitated by your action.
- When you contribute greatly to the accumulation of greenhouse gases thereby resulting in the melting of the Polar Regions, then you should feel responsible for the flooding of coastal towns.
- This is not the era to blame anyone: we are all stakeholders in the healthcare delivery system and in bringing about a clean and healthy environment.
- We should all take responsibility for our actions and work towards making right what we have done wrong to nature.
Ms Omolara Famuyiwa
Research Fellow-II, Institute of Child Health,
University of Benin, Benin City Nigeria