By Usman Aliyu,
Environmentalists opine that although flooding is seasonal, it is induced more by the activities of people and lack of adequate environmental policy by the government.
According to them, flooding, one of the challenges facing the planet earth usually brings untold hardship to the people and the environment.
“Flooding in severe cases leads to loss of lives, damage to property, destruction of plant and animals, erosion of the earth surface and the pollution of the environment, among other effects’’, they observe.
They cite some recent flood disasters due to rainfall in rural communities in Kwara that destroyed no fewer than 25 houses in Kosubosu and other communities in Baruten Local Government Area of the state.
They also recall that a similar disaster occurred in some communities in the state in 2014 that affected some residents.
The Public Relations Officer of Baruten Local Government Area, Mallam Jubril Masene, whose house was also affected, described the incident as devastating.
He appealed to government at all levels and well-meaning individuals to come to the aid of the affected residents.
He noted that flooding had displaced no fewer than 500 people in some communities in Baruten in the area due to flooding in the communities.
“This development has forced many victims in Kosubosu, Tambera and Gure, among other communities, to seek refuge in mosques, shops and neighbour’s apartments while others temporarily sleep in their animals’ pen.
“In Kosubosu alone more than 100 victims are rendered homeless during the first rain fall in the community that destroyed more than 25 buildings,’’ Masene said.
The victims of the disasters, therefore, solicit assistance from the government, especially from the relevant disaster management agencies at the state and federal levels.
“We appeal to government at all levels and well-meaning individuals to come to the aid of the affected residents to alleviate their hardship.
“The disaster blew off the roofs of more than 25 buildings including my house and other residents of Kenu/Tambera ward,’’ Malam Salihu Usman, the councillor of the ward said.
Usman urged the National and State Emergency Management Agency to come to the rescue of the displaced people.
He also appealed to other well-meaning individuals to come to the aid of the residents who, he said, were predominantly farmers and petty traders.
In the same vein, Malam Mohammed Omar-Bio, the Chairman of Baruten Local Government Area, described the disaster as worrisome.
He condoled with the families of the victims, promising that the council would look into how it could come to the aid of the victims.
The chairman also appealed to the National Emergency Management Agency and other disaster management agencies to provide succour for the victims of the disaster.
He said that with the development, the number of flood disaster victims in the area during the current rainy season were more than 400 people.
“The rainstorm incidents in more than three communities in the area were similar to that of 2014 in some communities in the state which affected many residents,’’ he said.
But Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara said the flood disasters in some parts of the state were caused by the abandonment of Asa Dam channelisation by the Federal Government.
He, nonetheless, assured the residents of the state that his government would continue to make their welfare a priority.
Speaking in Ilorin recently he said “the state government is saddened by the development but we will continue to make sure that the people of our state get the best of welfare’’.
Irrespective of welfare packages for flood victims, a researcher, Mr Raheem Adebimpe of the Department of Geography, University of Ilorin, insisted that the solutions to flooding lay in a deliberate intervention in the development of the inner cities of pre-colonial African cities.
“This can take the advantage of urban renewal efforts in these parts by legislating on the minimum standard for houses.
“The existing legislation seems to isolate inner parts of the city and allow random development to occur.
“The municipal authorities responsible for city planning often abandon the inner parts of the city where planning laws and initiatives do not necessarily take effect.
“Overtime, these areas may become slums even when the outer parts of the city are well planned.
“In addition, government must move to bridge the gap between the time of disaster and the time when victims receive the relief materials or funds,’’ he stated in a journal.
All in all, concerned citizens note that to prevent flooding, there is a need for government to promote environmental-friendly planning policies and inculcate into people habits that are supportive and protective of the environment.(NANFeatures)