We have observed incident trends of late amongst localities and even countries; it has become a very disturbing issue the spate of flood risk exposure amongst vulnerable settlements and communities. This disturbing flood disaster has again been identified as one of the fall outs of global climate change which we have all been collectively responsible for.
This trend would continue and even go worse if we do not see the care of environment as our individual and collective responsibility, the need to change our attitude towards the mother earth is of utmost concern if we really desire to put a check or control to these natural disasters that we are left to contend with.
Many communities in Nigeria suffered colossal loss 2012 owing to the unexpected flood disaster that ravaged some parts of Nigeria. This could have been avoided or mitigated if we clearly identified and recognise the peculiarity of risk we are exposed to base on our geographical positioning.
It does not really matter how you pay deaf ears to the sound and presence of those risks, one thing that is clear is that they will surely occur whether you plan for them or not. Planning will help mitigate the effects and facilitate quick and better recovery.Flooding is said to occur when land not normally covered by water becomes covered by water or when heavy rainfall overwhelms the drainage capacity of the local area.
Flood as it affects Human Lives and Properties.
For those people in Lagos State, we must understand that this is a coastal city and it is susceptible to experience flooding caused by higher sea levels than normal, largely as a result of storm surges, resulting from the sea overflowing into the land . There is also the issue of inland flooding which is caused by intense or prolonged rainfall which Lagos has of late been characterized with.
Flooding has been known to induce the following:
- Physical injuries, illness and loss of live.
- Deep, fast flowing or rapidly rising flood waters can be particularly dangerous. Even shallow water flowing at 12 metres per second (m/sec) can knock children and many adults off their feet.
- Some of these impacts may be immediate such as drowning or physical injury due to being swept away by flood.
- Flood water contaminated by sewage or other pollutants such as chemicals is particularly going to cause illness either directly as a result of contact with the polluted flood water or indirectly as a result of sediments left behind.
- The mud ways also cause physical hazards via slips and falls.
- Some of such health diseases include nasal congestion, respiratory infection, diarrhoea, flu etc.
Flood also has impactful damage on properties in diverse ways as highlighted below:
- Flood water is likely to damage internal finishes, contents and electrical fittings, and other services and possibly cause structural damage.
- Re-occupation of a property damaged by flood could take a long term and huge investment must be made for cleaning and restructuring.
- Vehicles and equipment are not spared also in this impact.
- Sea water may cause additional damage as corrosion.
How to prevent the Impact of Flood in our Homes/Properties.
The government has a role to play by ensure that towns are planned properly, and drainage systems are built in these areas to ensure that flooding and the impact of flooding is limited. Individuals can also assist the government by carrying out the following activities.
- Since plastic bags and bottles used to sell packaged water are the biggest contributor to clogged gutters, clearing the gutters and the drainage regularly can help.
- When building, ensure that the ground area within 10 feet of your home slopes away from your home’s foundation.
- Direct water flow from downspouts away from your house’s roof to the drainage outside your house.
- Have your roof carefully inspected at least once a year by a capable person to check the roof thoroughly for degraded roof components and other roof problems.
- Preventative landscaping can also help reduce the chance of a mudslide or flooding
- Be vigilant for warning signs of an impending water flood problem. This includes water stains and mould growth on ceilings and walls.
- Always check to ensure that your taps are locked before leaving your house.
- If flooding occurs, shut off electricity at main switches as this will help you to react quickly and minimize potential damages.