The rains are back with its attendant blessings and in some cases, troubles.
Heavy rainfall cause flooding and in some states, it can be very disastrous.
Incidents of flooding can be exacerbated by increased natural hazards such as wildfires, which reduce the supply of vegetation that can absorb rainfall.
In recent times, the impacts of flooding have accentuated from significant to threatening proportions, resulting in loss of human lives and valuable properties, wreaking irreparable havoc on the citizenry. This often leads to the collapse of houses, schools buildings and bridges. Markets and farmlands are submerged for weeks and sometimes are washed away.
Nigeria and Nigerians over the years, have battled flood disasters across the states and local government areas which are prone to the natural phenomenon. The flood-prone states in Nigeria include Rivers, Anambra, Delta, Adamawa ,Lagos, Kogi, Benue, Niger and Bayelsa States.
In Bayelsa State for example, there have been reports of heavy flooding in most parts of the state already. In 2012, many homes were flooded and so many families displaced. Last year in Rivers and other Niger Delta states, there was an unusual flooding of roads and homes. A lot of families were also displaced. Till date, many of the victims are yet to recover.
Unfortunately, despite the damaging effects of flood, especially in the coastal states, there does not seem to be a deliberate step by the people and the government to check future occurrences.
In Akwa Ibom State, even the state secretariat could be a no-go-area once it rains. The Atiku Abubakar road and even the IBB road can be a nightmare for road users. There have been reports of snakes and fishes showing up in people's houses as a result of heavy flooding.
But flooding can be prevented, if the indigenes of the flood-prone states and local government areas take serious and concrete measures to combat it. The most basic thing about flooding in human settlements, especially in the urban areas, is to ensure that water is given its natural right of way. Any blockage is a date with unmitigated disaster in the future. That is why town planning authorities and other specialists charged with regulating building activities must ensure that houses are not built on waterways.
Residents must also be sensitized to refrain from dumping refuse in gutters and drainages. Whenever the drains are de-silted, the trash should be properly disposed of, rather than being kept for the next rain to return it to the drainage system. The local authorities have formed the habit of abandoning their responsibility to sufficiently educate the populace and play their part in preventing some human practices that aid flood disasters.
We believe that when flood disasters occur, as they are bound to, particularly in the Niger Delta region, governments should always respond to the needs of victims. Those displaced from their homes must be provided with temporary shelters, while efforts are made to assist them to return to their normal livelihood as soon as possible. This is how it is done in more developed parts of the world where the welfare of the citizens are taken seriously but more importantly, the government needs to take serious steps to prevent flooding. Prevention, as the cliché goes, is better than cure.