Thursday, 2 June 2011

Flood Alert In Lagos State

The rainfall forecast released
recently by the Nigerian
Meteorological Agency (NIMET)
suggested that heavy rainfalls
will start relatively earlier and
stopped relatively later than usual
this year, with an estimated
1200-2700mm rainfall.
This forecast, which has shown
an appreciable level of reliability,
has got the attention of the
Lagos State government and
during an inter-ministerial press
briefing involving the ministries
of the environment, information,
and transport, about 10
communities in the north-
eastern part of the state were
declared prone to heavy flooding
this year.
The communities included Ikosi
—Ketu, Mile 12, Agiliti, Thomas
Laniyan Estate, Owode- Onirin -
Agboyi, Owode Elede, Maidan and
Isheri North scheme.
A tragic repeat
To avoid a repeat of last year
when flood displaced more than
1,000 residents of a community
in Ikorodu, the permanent
secretary in the Office of
Drainage Services, Muhydeen
Akinsanya, while addressing
journalists during the press
briefing, advised residents of
these communities to “move to
higher grounds within the
months of June to mid-
September and October to
January because the capacity of
most canals is not likely to
contain the volume of runoff
expected from the rainfall.”
Prevention is government’s
watchword this time, as this can
prevent unsavoury expenses.
Already, several sensitisation
campaigns are ongoing and Mr
Akinsanya also warned
“residents and property owners
along the river banks and flood
plains to be very vigilant and
raise alarm in case of high rise in
water level and ensure that they
immediately vacate the water
path in case of heavy flooding.
They should put safety of lives
before anything else.”
Our effort
Mr Akinsanya said the state
government, in the last four
years, has taken several proactive
steps to combat flood disaster.
He mentioned the establishment
of the Emergency Flood
Abatement Gang (EFAG), which
was created to both create
employment and ensure an all-
year-round maintenance of
drainage channels. According to
data released by the ministry, the
state government has built over
133 secondary storm water
collectors, and de-silted more
than 550 primary channels.
“Intensive de-silting and
dredging is actually going on
now. We have even started lining
some canals with concrete to
reduce silt accumulation and
increase water flow,” he said.
According to him, the number of
residents of the Lagos metropolis
who encounter knee deep
flooding in their
neighbourhoods has reduced
from five to two million in the
last four years.
The Lagos State Emergency
Management Agency (LASEMA)
general manager, Femi Oke-
Osanyintolu, acknowledged that
flood “is the main natural
disaster Lagos metropolis is
susceptible to.”
He is, however, confident that the
agency, having learnt some
lessons in containing the
emergency disaster due to flood
last year, is now better equipped
and ready.
“The state has fine-tuned its early
warning system, intensified
sensitisation campaign against
flood disaster, and taken multi-
pronged approaches to contain
its imminent crisis. We are
looking towards the future with
an agenda to ensure safety of
lives and properties,” Mr Oke-
Osanyintolu said.
Inept federal government
He said the state government has
had to dredge more than 54
tertiary storm water collectors, a
responsibility of the federal
drainage earth channels, while
more than 550 storm water
drainage channels have been de-
silted.
Mr Akinsanya regretted that the
state government may not be
able to help residents living in
the stretch from “Oworonshoki–
Apapa Expressway from Gbagada
to Tin Can Island, which has been
depressed for a long time, is yet
to be rehabilitated by the Federal
Government.” He explained that
the agencies had struggled in
vain against federal agencies.
According to him, the challenges
usually experienced by the
people living in such localities as
Mile 2, Rainbow, Ijeshatedo,
Ilasamaja, Ewu- Tuntun, and Itire
during the rainy season would
largely remain.
Precaution
However, residents are warned
strongly to desist from blocking
drains either through
indiscriminate refuse dumping
or construction activities. Free
flowing drains, according to the
permanent secretary of
information ministry, Oluranti
Odutola, are Lagosians best
protection against flooding. She,
therefore, advised everyone to
start caring for the drains.
Her counterpart in the
transportation ministry, Seyi
Coker, advised motorists to
ensure regular vehicle
maintenance and avoid long haul
driving which easily trigger
fatigue during raining season.

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