Floods in Nigeria are a disaster, but here’s why they’re not entirely natural

Every year appears to bring something that threatens Humanity’s existence. In different parts of the world, nations are combating a particular challenge or the other. 

In 2020, the world was fighting COVID as businesses struggled to recover and implement better working practices. 

Nigeria is currently dealing with the worst flooding in nearly ten years, with hundreds of lives, investments, and properties lost. You will agree that Nigeria has been dealing with a number of issues, including recession, insecurity, political rivalry, and currency depreciation, to name a few.

What exactly is the cause of this flooding?

Who or what is to blame?

What impact has it had?

How can we better prepare for this and future disasters?

Flooding occurs when an area receives excessive or prolonged rain or water, dams and levees fail, or snow or ice melts (rarely occurs in Africa). 

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) forecasted heavy rains in the core Northern states and warned the public to avoid low terrain. Poor drainage systems, in general, as well as a disregard for science and its application, have weakened our defenses against flooding and other disasters. 

The flood affected the housing, public health, transportation, and agriculture industries.

According to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, over 603 people were killed, over a million people were displaced, and 2.5 million people were affected in 27 of Nigeria’s 36 states. Flooding currently affects 27 of the country’s 36 states, with water levels in the Niger and Benue rivers, as well as Lokoja and Makurdi, rising 11% since 2012.

Figure 1.2: States currently affected by flooding

Since farmlands have been devastated close to harvest (October-November), the importance of food security cannot be overstated; this is happening at a time when Nigeria is practically self-sufficient in rice production, with a consumption rate of roughly 6.8 million mt compared to 5 million mt produced in 2021.

While the goal of producing rice domestically and reducing international rice imports has made some progress, this occurrence may set us back from agricultural self-sufficiency. Farmers have not only suffered losses, but their primary source of income has been disrupted, and the logistics route connecting states has been flooded or destroyed. Nigeria’s food inflation has reached an all-time high of 20.77% as of September 2022, causing grave concern.

To meet the country’s rapidly increasing population and demand, we must invest in infrastructure. To mitigate future threats, adequate drainage systems, waste management systems, and dam construction are urgently needed in all or most impacted areas.Dam construction will improve Nigeria’s electrical infrastructure while also increasing agricultural productivity (dry season harvest reservoirs). 

Farmers may prevent flooding by learning more about climate-resistant breeds, planting various crops, and keeping streams free. This is particularly true if the necessary infrastructure is already in place.

In the short term, however, the government intends to provide over 12,000mt of food to displaced people, while international donors are already assisting. Enrolling in benefit programs that cover incidents like these and others is one way for farmers to protect their losses.

Families are currently concerned about the final cost of a bag of rice during the holiday season. 

We sympathize with those who have been relocated or who have lost their jobs or loved ones during these trying times.

Agriarche connects farmers to markets, financial systems, insurance, health care packages, and other life-improvement services.

To collaborate, please send an email to info@agriarche.com

Written by : Deina Mayaki, Franklyn Okotie, Chukwuebuka Ihueze, Millen Oyinlola

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