From Friday July 8 to Sunday July 10, Lagos was hit by heavy and perennial rains which fell continuously for no less than 8 to 10 hours over the weekend. One of the natural and unavoidable consequences of these heavy downpours has been flooding in many parts of the state and property damage and loss of life in a number of locations.
Cynically seizing this event as an opportunity to do politics, the media team of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for governor in Lagos State, Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran, also known as Jandor , issued a statement not only subtly blaming the state government for the flooding, but allegedly claiming that it was setting up a statewide disaster recovery team to assist flood victims.
According to the statement, “Jandor reached out to some of the victims earlier in the week, but the situation became worrying today with the torrential rain lasting around 7 hours. It is heartbreaking to see the good people of the state suffer from such neglect and discomfort. This catastrophe is avoidable and avoidable at least at the minimum bearable.
What exactly does this mean? Does Jandor know the difference between a flood and a flash flood? Did he instruct his team to undertake the necessary research before releasing the statement which amounted to political grandstanding and a show of comical ignorance? surely, more is expected of one who aspires to become Governor of Lagos State and must be known to be diligent, thorough, meticulous and refrain from frivolity in his public discourse.
Jandor himself in his statement admits that there were “torrential rains which lasted approximately seven hours”. The question is, how long did the floodwaters sit in streets and sewers across the state when the rains finally stopped? Floodwaters subsided and cleared within 24 and 48 hours at most in heavily affected areas. It is a natural and common phenomenon in several parts of the world, especially the lowlands, in both developed and underdeveloped countries.
What does Jandor de Lagos really know? Is he aware of the relationship between Lagos’ location in relation to the sea and the vulnerability of many parts of the state to flooding? Experts estimate that Lagos is less than two meters above sea level and parts of the state may well be below sea level. This means that flooding is a phenomenon that l The state must continue to cope even as it strives to keep improving the knowledge, skills and technology to mitigate its effects.
According to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, “Over the past 30 years, urban flooding, a natural disaster in many parts of the world, has continued to occur. In both developed and developing countries, the floods killed more than 500,000 people and displaced an estimated 650 million.
Wikipedia further explains that flash floods occur when heavy rains exceed the ability of the ground to absorb them and that floods are a longer term event that can last for days or weeks, while flash floods, which are caused by heavy rains, last for a short period of time usually less than 6 hours. He also noted that “flooding along rivers is a natural and inevitable part of life. Some floods occur seasonally when winter or spring rains, combined with snowmelt, fill river basins too quickly with too much water.
So does Jandor intend to magically raise Lagos much higher above sea level if he is lucky enough to become governor? Or will he move the state away from the sea and the lagoon? If the PDP candidate had done his research as would be expected of a serious politician who aspires to hold such a critical position as Governor of Lagos State, he would have discovered that the type of flash floods suffered in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria is common. phenomenon around the world.
Again, for example, Wikipedia reports that “In July 2021, several European countries were affected by severe flooding. Some have been catastrophic, causing death and considerable damage. The floods began in the UK as flash floods causing property damage and inconvenience. Subsequent floods affected several river basins across Europe, including Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland. At least 243 people died in the floods, including 196 in Germany, 43 in Belgium, two in Romania, one in Italy and one in Austria.
Other well-documented flooding incidents include stormy weather that affected several parts of Poland, including the cities of Warsaw, Krakow and Poznań, and flash flooding in parts of western Poland on June 22. 2021, after 60mm of rain fell in just one hour. That day.
And in China, the country this year experienced its heaviest rainfall since 1961 with downpours causing severe flooding and landslides. In July 2022, London was hit by two severe flash floods just two weeks apart. Parts of the city reportedly received more than double the average monthly rainfall in just two hours, with flooding causing massive disruption to homes and properties flooded with rainwater and sewage. .+
Read also: Lagos and the flood challenge
According to the U.S. National Weather Service, Southeast Alaska experienced flooding and landslides in December 2020 that destroyed four homes, killed two people, and damaged property worth nearly of $30 million. Other reports of flooding in the United States occurred in Nashville in March 2021, Hawaii in March 2021, Alabama and the southeastern United States in May 2021, Louisiana in May 2021, the southeast Michigan on June 2021, in southeast Pennsylvania including Bucks County, Bensalem, Croydon and Bristol Township on July 12, 2021, in Coconino County, Arizona on July 14, 2021, in Middle Tennessee through Stewart, Houston, Dickson, Humphrey, and Hickman counties on August 21, 2021. And in June 2022, large areas of Montana, including Yellowstone National Park, were affected by heavy flooding.
The Lagos State Government is to be commended for constructing and maintaining what is perhaps the most extensive and modern drainage canal system in the state, particularly since 1999. During Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu took office in 2019, the gains made in the waste disposal region since 1999 had been allowed to dissipate by the previous administration and the state was once again facing challenges. mountains of waste, many of which blocked drainage channels and created flooding problems. The administration had, however, remedied the situation within six months and garbage is no longer a major cause of flooding.
In a commendable proactive move, the Lagos State Department of Environment had, as early as March 2022, alerted residents of the heavy rainfall expected this year and the socio-economic implications for the population. To mitigate the extent of the floods, the Environment Commissioner, Mr. Tunji Bello, said the ministry has established a year-round drainage maintenance mechanism for effective flood control as well. a functional and efficient solid waste management system.
As if Mr Bello had a premonition of the kind of antics mischievous politicians like Jandor might pull off, he had in March urged the media to help educate the public that “sometimes when it rains a lot it is natural to have flash floods that will infiltrate or drain quickly, as is the case in different parts of the world. It is only when the flood persists for several hours after the rains have stopped that one can report that a flood has occurred. So I want to implore the media to be more circumspect in how they report on the flash flood issue with headlines that could cause panic.
Jandor’s claim that it has set up a disaster recovery team in all 20 LGAs to help flood victims is also laughable. Suffice it to say that local government councils across the state regularly deal with these issues within their areas of jurisdiction and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) is one of the better equipped, staffed and motivated in the country to perform these functions. done in an exemplary fashion to the admiration of all. As Mr. Bello said in March, “all emergency agencies, responders and traffic management crews are also on standby to help reduce the negative impact of precipitation-associated thunderstorms in the state.” .
Peters, a social commentator, writes from Lagos