Wednesday, 26 October 2011

NATURAL DISASTERS FROM AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE! As floods storm Lagos Nigeria, Libya, Somalia and others


Contrary to the occurrence that are currently rocking Nigeria and other countries in the world, one may conclude that this earth could come to an end soonest, as it was predicted some years back or probably written in the bible, which is gradually coming into an existence, due to the strange incidence making the rounds. Not too long ago, there are lots of hullabaloos in the world, Libyans were at the moment mal-handled by the president of country while Somalians were dying of hunger, and other developed countries were also battling with several disasters, while the giant of African as Nigeria is fondly refers to is currently skirmishing with fire, floods, bomb blast and other unpleasant tricks. The so called African leaders can not deny the fact that they are also naturally disastrous. That is not even the issue for now. Our concern is that of the unnoticed visitor which stormed a geographical area and takes away their possessions, few months ago, some Lagos residents continue to count their losses following the downpour, which resulted in the flooding of different parts of the city which influenced some people of the Area to made brick business as they were fishing as a result of the flood which awaked the ingenuity of these people, who saw some fish swimming around their flooded neighbourhood. The 15 hour hammering rainfall in Lagos on Sunday July 10th this year, caused lots of great floods in most parts of the state, send-off loads of residents in tears and sorrow, while a handful of young men seized the opportunity to fish and made piece of money. As if those was not even enough. Subsequent to the lost of properties in Lagos State, another gigantic downpour also surfaced at the capital tertiary of pace center (Ibadan, Oyo State) which claimed numerous lives. But wait a little bit, what do we mean by the word flood? A flood is an overflow of an expanse of water that submerges land.
The EU Floods directive also defines a flood as a temporary covering by water of land not normally covered by water. In the sense of "flowing water", the word may also be applied to the inflow of the surge. Flooding may result from the volume of water within a body of sodden, such as a river or lake, which overflows or breaks levees, with the result that some of the water escapes its usual boundaries. While the size of a lake or other body of water will vary with seasonal changes in precipitation and snow melt, it is not a significant flood unless such escapes of water endanger land areas used by man like a village, city or other inhabited area. Floods can also occur in rivers, when flow exceeds the capacity of the river channel, particularly at bends or meanders. Floods often cause damage to homes and businesses if they are placed in natural flood plains of rivers. While flood damage can be virtually eliminated by moving away from rivers and other bodies of water, since time out of mind, people have lived and worked by the water to seek sustenance and capitalize on the gains of cheap and easy travel and commerce by being near water. That humans continue to inhabit areas threatened by flood damage is evidence that the perceived value of living near the water exceeds the cost of repeated periodic flooding.
During our finding, we gathered that 102 people were killed when a dam burst in torrential rain and flooding in southwest Nigeria, a local Red Cross official told AFP. "The death toll for now... is 102," said Umar Mairiga, disaster management coordinator for the Nigerian Red Cross Society. He said the Eleyele dam collapsed and several bridges were swept away at the weekend after heavy rains fell for more than seven hours around the university town of Ibadan 150 kilometers (90 miles) north of the economic capital Lagos. Local residents were swept away by the water after their homes crumbled in the flood waters while others tried to scramble to safety, Mairiga said.
An official of the National Emergency Management Agency (Nema) said the drains in the town were blocked by rubbish which meant the water could not escape normally. Seven of Ibadan's eight districts were affected, displacing many residents, Mairiga said. "We have over 80 families in a primary school," he said, while other displaced persons had left shelters to seek refuge with family and friends. Regional and national emergency bodies had distributed food, blankets, mattresses and rubber mats to affected families, the Red Cross official said. Flooding occurs each rainy season in Nigeria, though emergency officials have warned of particularly intense rains this year. The rainy season typically runs from around April to September.
In July, floods triggered by a heavy downpour killed at least 20 people in Lagos, while 24 died in June when unusually heavy rains inundated a neighbourhood in Nigeria's largest northern city of Kano. The largest cities in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, are overcrowded, with many residents living in haphazardly constructed slums. Drainage systems are also often poorly maintained and contribute to the problem of floods. Nigeria experienced severe flooding last year that affected around half a million people in two-thirds of its 36 states
The neighbouring nation of Benin was also hard hit by flooding in 2010, with 55,000 homes destroyed and at least 680,000 people affected. More than 300 people were killed in the 2010 rainy season in western and central Africa.
With the above definitions of flood and the analyses provided in the research, one can easily go further to know the causes of floods, but during our further finding, we however gathered that the below information as some of the major causes of flood. I don't think I'll surprise you by stating that the most important cause of flooding is widespread, heavy rain. Heavy rain is hard to ignore, particularly when it continues for days. Its effects are magnified when the rain bringing system extends over most of a river catchments area, so that all tributaries are soon at bank full stage or are in flood. When they meet the main channel, its capacity for removing the water is rapidly exceeded, and extensive flooding is inevitable.
Heavy rain itself can be difficult to define, except after the event. In some areas where rainfall is normally light and spread out, falls of 3-4 inches may be enough to cause flooding. In other areas, falls of this size may be common, but the stream channels have adapted to handle the amount of water, and no flooding occurs. And while it is true that a major rainfall event can overcome all natural conditions and man made structures that may minimize flooding, even prolonged drought, there are many other factors that can contribute major flooding.
Saturated or Frozen Ground: In normal times, soil has a great capacity to soak up a large amount of water, preventing it from running off. But when the ground is already saturated or frozen, all rain or melt water moves over the top and into the streams.
Full Streams: Quite often, if the ground is saturated water is already running off and streams and rivers are close to bank full stage. Any extra rain will rapidly cause flooding.
Full Dams: Partly full dams can be used as a flood control measure by intercepting and holding back the early run off. In some cases, if a flood is expected to occur, water authorities will begin releasing water before the expected peak to create some capacity in the dam to reduce flooding downstream. Although this may cause early nuisance flooding, it will help reduce the effects of the main flood. But if the streams and the dams are already full, once again almost all the rain will end up in the river. Despite everyone's best efforts, these three conditions tend to occur together and reinforce each other. This situation contributed to the Mississippi Flood of 1993, when a series of heavy thunderstorms over several weeks eventually overwhelmed natural and artificial checks on flooding. In conclusion, the citizen of the affected area were advised to keep their environment clean, while government is also implore to make the necessary drainage basin will keep the water flowing whenever it rains.

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