Monday, January 17, 2022

Flooding is commonly caused by heavy downpours of rains on flat ground, driver outflow and construction of building on flood plain areas. Every year, Lagosians are always confronted with the challenges of floodwater, especially residents of flood-prone Local Government areas like Kosofe, Epe, Eti-Osa, Amuwo Odofin, Ojo, Lagos Island, Apapa, Ibeju-Lekki and Ikorodu, who are often devastated about the adverse effect of floodwaters on their properties. Although flooding is a natural occurrence, man-made changes to land are also one of the factors that increase flooding in a particular environment. For instance, Lagos residents in Lekki are prone to experience flooding due to its topology, Mr Seun Adejare, who once resides in Ajah area of Ibeju-Lekki Local Government narrates his experience before relocating to Oregun in Kosofe Local Government area. He said, he left Lagos Island because floodwater has destroyed all his properties.

“I relocated to the mainland because of floodwater, my experience in Ajah area, where I moved out two weeks ago was not a palatable one. It was the heavy rain that fell on Saturday that initiated my action, before that heavy rainfall, I have been envisaging how to move my family back to the mainland immediately my rent expires. But the flood caused by that rain which enters my apartment destroyed several of my belongings. All my electronics, books and other properties have been destroyed by floodwater.

“The torrent of the rainfall that started around 5:00 am on Saturday and its subsequent flood baffles me and prompted me to take necessary measures to save the lives of my family by relocating to Oregun in Kosofe Local Government. I came here to pack my remaining properties as my family is already on the mainland. At least I have tried because this is my 6th year in Ajah and there is no year that we don’t use to pack floodwater from my apartment,” says Adejare.

July to September are months considered to be rainy season in Lagos, as a result, most Lagosians always find this period very challenging as it poses a threat of destruction across the state. Flood does not only destroy properties, it does claim lives also. Several people have been killed across the state and hundreds of residential buildings, cars and other vehicles have been destroyed or submerged underwater. Precious Ewebajo, who resides in the God First area of Ajegunle and Itowolo communities in the Ikosi-Isheri and Agboyi-Ketu Local Council Development Areas of Lagos State said that some persons had drowned in the floodwater. The victims were identified simply as Baba Ibeji; one Baba Michael; a yet-to-be-identified Egun man.

“Baba Ibeji, Baba Michael and an Egun man drowned at midnight during operation; they were nine that went for the operation but on their way back, their canoes capsized and six people survived, while the remaining ones drowned. It was those who escaped that came back to narrate the incident, but the bodies of those, who drowned, have not been found,” says Ewebajo.

Some parts of Lagos Mainland is not excluded from the long arm of flooding as reported by the spokesperson of The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), on Thursday, June 18, 2020, 20 families were displaced at Orile-Agege area after a heavy downpour of rain.

The Agency spokesperson Nosa Okunbor said the flood destroyed three houses in that area, which resulted to the displacement of several families including a mother and her daughter who resides at 12, Hassan Adejobi Street, Papa Ashafa, Orile-Agege, Lagos.

“Upon the arrival of the agency’s officials at the incident scene, we observed that a fence fell on a bungalow boy’s quarters with six rooms located in the same compound with a 10-room bungalow that was submerged by water as a result of flood at about 6 a.m. on Thursday 18th June 2020.

“It was further revealed to the agency’s officials at the incident scene that two victims (an adult female and her female child) living in the affected building sustained minor injuries and were taken to a hospital before the arrival of the agency’s LRT.

“Three other compounds were also affected by the flood. Presently about 20 families have been displaced by the flood,” Mr Okunbor said.

Similarly, areas like Iyana-Ejigbo, NNPC Junction, Lawanson, Ejigbo, Isolo Road Junction, Surulere in Lagos Mainland are also no go area whenever there is a heavy downpour of rain. A resident in Masha area in Surulere Local Government Area, Godwin Ebuka explained that the level of flood at the Ikate in Itire area is always above the knee, therefore most residents are always concerned with the task of salvaging some of their submerged valuables, as some of the cars parked on the streets were affected, except those on elevated platforms.

In a bid to reduce the adverse effect of flooding in the state, The Lagos State Government said it will plant about 230,000 trees before the end of 2020 to prevent flooding, promote the climate-friendly environment and agro-forestry in the state.

The Special Adviser to the State Governor on Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, made this known on Sunday on the celebration of the International Day of Forest in Lagos. She said the Department of Forestry in the ministry has been given the approval to plant 100,000 trees in 2020, and part of that initiative would be targeted at schools.

Olusanya said, “Deforestation accounts for about 20 per cent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, regardless of the importance of forests which are the most biological-diverse ecosystems on land.

“In 2011, the world experienced a series of unprecedented effects of climate change such as ice and glaciers melting, flooding, flash flooding, erosion, forest fire, drought and water stress caused by man’s unguided and actions.

“Lagos was not left out of the sad experience as of July 10, 2011, low and high lands were flooded, while some areas such as Thomas Area in Ajegunle, Ikorodu, were eroded.

“This has also resulted in displacements of wildlife from their natural habitats such as reported in Omole, Gbagada and other places in the state where monkeys and baboons invaded houses.”

Apart from houses that collapse by flooding, schools, buildings and bridges sometimes collapse as well. Markets places and farmlands are submerged for weeks and sometimes are washed away. Hence, flooding is a looming disaster that if not check on time will one day penetrate the safest of the safest aboard. Therefore, all hands need to be active in reducing the adverse effect of floodwater. As Lagos State Government is trying it best by improving drainages that will help to control floods by facilitating easy flow of excess water especially in urban areas. Every individual should also desist from such activities like dropping refuse inside drainages, building on water log area and other acts that could hinder the flow of flood.

By Ife Adewole

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