ASSESMENT OF FLOODING PROBLEMS

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ABSTRACT

This study focused on the assessment of flooding problems in makoko area of Lagos state. The aim and objective was to identify and asses the drainage channel in the study area, the effects of flooding in the study area, to examine the causes of flooding in the study area and to examine past efforts of curbing flooding problems in the study area. Both primary and secondary sources of data were employed with focus on the residents of the  study area in order to capture their views on the effects of flooding on their environment.The research looks Makoko through the view point of the inhabitants, with the aim of finding out what the inhabitants want, need and would want to have, in order to improve their drainage conditions. The research solely focuses on Makoko community and the assessment of its flooding problems. The research revealed that 44(55.0) of the respondent were below 25 years, 20 of the respondent were between 25 – 35, 12 of the respondent were between 36 – 35, 4 of the respondent were above 46 years. The majority of the respondent  were under 25 year. The characteristics of  the drainage channel in this  research work revealed that most of the drainage were open drainage while few were closed.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1  BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

A flood is an overflow of an expanse of water that submerges land  Floods are among the most devastating natural disasters in the world, claiming more lives and causing more property damage than any other natural phenomena. In Lagos metropolis, though not leading in terms of claiming lives, flood affects and displaces more people than any other disaster it also causes more damage to properties. At least 20 per cent of the population is at risk from one form of flooding or another (Etuonovbe, 2011). Iwena (2005) described flooding to be the accumulation of an abnormal large volume of water in an area which has refused to percolate or flow away, it usually occurs when there is heavy rainfall in an area and all the water refuses to sink into the soil but flows on the earth`s surface as floods. When such floods occur in the cities it is referred to as Urban Flooding.

Etuonovbe (2011) stated that flooding may occur when water in the river overflows its banks, or sometimes results from a torrential rainfall due to climate change. It happens without warning but with a surprise package that always delivers to unprepared community like the ones in the Lagos metropolis i.e Makoko, Ikorodu, Victoria Island, Ajegunle, Bariga and so on. In Makoko, flood disaster has been perilous to people and communities. Recently and other parts of lagos state have been affected by flooding, chasing the inhabitants away and retarding commercial activities. It has shattered both the built-environment and underdeveloped areas. It has claimed  lives, and thousands of properties got lost or destroyed due to its occurrences. One prominent feature about it is that flooding does not discriminate, but marginalizes whosoever refuses to prepare for its occurrence (UNHabitat, 2008).There are factors of flooding depending on locality.

McGranahan et al. (2007) noted that while economic activity and urban Development often increase the environmental pressures that lead to flooding, it is the low Income settlements and poor groups within all settlements that tend to be the most vulnerable. Coastal towns are by far the most developed of Africa’s urban areas and by implication, have a high concentration of residential, industrial, commercial, educational and military facilities which are vulnerable to this environmental hazard (UNHabitat, 2008). Whereas flooding itself is a situation that results when land that is usually dry is covered with water of a river overflowing or heavy rain, flooding occurs naturally on the flood plains which are prone to disaster.

Generally, Flood is caused by two major factors which involves the human and man-made factors, these factors obviously are responsible for the generation and continuous occurrence of flooding in the environment, and at any point negatively effects the environment at large. The impact of flooding may be a worldwide phenomenon, but the effects are more devastating in African cities stated (Niasse, 2004). Also Makoko in Lagos state is not an exception given their prevailing socio-economic problems in the area of housing in the urban areas. Urban areas will be faced with increases in the frequency and intensity of heavy rainstorms, ocean surges and other extreme weather events. The urban centers that will be more at risk are those where these events are already widespread.

Floods of 2010 have created huge problems for the people of affected areas of the country. The World Bank estimated some 17.6 million have been affected by this disaster (Independent Evaluation Group, 2010). Damage of crops, roads, housings and other infrastructure is estimated more than $6.5 billion. Health problems including the spread of water-borne diseases have made the life challenge for the people of affected areas.

Floods and storms may have considerable adverse impacts depending on location, intensity and duration. In 2003, floods accounted for 3,723 fatalities around the world, exceeded only by heat waves (about 22,000 due to the very extreme summer heat wave in Southern Europe) and earthquakes (about 48,000, mostly due to the Bam Iran disaster) (Munich Re 2003). The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reports that weather-related disasters from a global perspective have been on the rise since 1996 and increasing from an annual average of 200 (1993–97) to 331 (1998–2002) (International Federation 2001 and 2003). The number of disasters attributed to floods is on the rise, while on average the number of people killed due to floods remains steady (Munich Re 2003). The economic costs of flood disasters have been increasing globally. Pielke et al. (2002) found that flood losses were falling to a proportion of GDP although the gross loss is on the rise. The increase in flood disasters is possibly due to more heavy rainfall events, increased economic activity, and efficiency of the use of a catchment (Green 1999; Mirza et al. 2001).

Defra (2004) evaluated health impacts on flood affected people of England and Wales and found the existence of stress and other psychological difficulties among them. Floods can affect health directly, for example, by causing injuries and deaths due to drowning. These can occur during or in the aftermath of a flood disaster when the residents return to their dwellings to clean up the damage and debris. Floodwaters also can affect health indirectly, through changes in other systems (for example, waterborne infections, acute or chronic effects of exposure to chemical pollutants released into floodwaters, vector borne diseases, food shortage, and others). Floods also can increase the risk of cholera, diarrhoea, schistosomiasis, dengue, yellow fever, malaria, Hantavirus, and other diseases.

Oni (2003) stated that Floods make an enormous impact on the environment and society. Floods destroy drainage systems in cities, causing raw sewage to spill out into bodies of water. Also, in cases of severe floods, buildings can be significantly damaged and even destroyed. This can lead to catastrophic effects on the environment as many toxic materials such as paint, pesticide and gasoline can be released into the Drainage channels like: rivers, lakes, bays, and ocean, killing maritime life (library.thinkquest.org).

Floods may also cause millions worth of damage to a city, both evicting people from their homes and ruining businesses. Floods cause significant amounts of erosion to coasts, leading to more frequent flooding if not repaired.  The attendant loss of life and properties leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of its victims and no one is left out. Extreme climatic events have significant economic and social impacts, especially where infrastructure is damaged – for example domestic and commercial buildings, transport, energy and water supply to trade, transport and services. Irrespective of whether urban floods are part of larger riverine floods or result from inadequate drainage capacities, the damage potential of floods in cities is extraordinarily high. Given the high spatial concentration of people and values in cities, even small scale floods may lead to considerable damages. In extreme cases urban floods can result in disasters that set back urban development by years or even decades. Recent statistics clearly indicate that economic damages caused by urban floods are rising (MunichRe, 2005). On one hand, the continuing urbanization process in combination with an over-proportional growth of values in cities is responsible for this trend, while on the other hand floods are indeed increasing, both in terms of frequency and magnitude.

Therefore, from the above observation, the vulnerability of Lagos Metropolis to this threats from Flooding are very extensive and numerous, the fact that Lagos is an urban metropolis, in fact the Largest urban agglomeration in Africa and Africa’s most populated city with 18 million people and a Population growth rate of 6% per annum Projected at 25million people by 2015 (Odjogu,  2008). Lagos being the industrial and commercial nerve of Nigeria and the most populous nation in Africa contributes to the phenomena which makes it pertinent for all the stakeholders to bring to the fore the issue of Flooding and various mitigating and adaptive measures to cushion its effects on socio-economic activities in the Lagos Metropolis.

1.2  STATEMENT OF RESEARCH  PROBLEM

The assessment of  flooding problems in the Makoko area of Lagos as earlier observed   initiates devastating consequences for the economy of the state and consequently housing and infrastructural developments. Flooding has had adverse effect on the economy of the metropolis, creating large scale underdevelopment in some very economic vital areas, hence, increasing population density in less vulnerable communities and towns in the metropolis which leads to overpopulation and congestion. Sea-level rise will have significant impacts on coastal areas of Africa, especially on its coastal megacities; because of the concentration of poor populations in potentially hazardous areas those are more vulnerable to such changes (Klein et al., 2002; Nicholls, 2004). Traditionally, studies have shown that flooding occur naturally through excessive rainfall etc. Also this flooding could be as a result of human activities such as blockage of drainage, excessive pavement of land, deforestation due to overconsumption and felling of forest trees, neglect of nature and the environment which leads humans to build and construct infrastructures on any available land not regarding its characteristics etc.

Adebajo (2010) noted that the water level in Lagos is high and it is to a large extent, surrounded by water and that the topography of the city is relatively flat and flat terrains do not give much room for the design and construction of proper functional self cleaning drains in terms of minimum allowable slopes etc. Nigerians are permanently accustomed to dirt.  This Evidence of this can be seen every day by way of indiscriminate discharge of garbage into drains and at times on the highway. In urban areas, Nigerian cities have been described as some of the dirtiest, most unsanitary and the least aesthetically pleasing in the world (Mabogunje 1996).Waste disposal habit of the people, Ignorance coupled with poverty may be adduced to the habit of most people in Lagos metropolis especially in the densely populated states. It beats one hollow to see a man defecating in broad daylight on the side of the high way or a woman with her wrapper pulled up urinating on the sidewalk or gutter in full glare of the public. Or where a man parks his/her car and throws waste on the street, then one begins to wonder the reason or reasons for those dirty habits of our people.

1.3   RESEARCH  QUESTIONS

To access flooding problems in makoko area ofLagos state and proffer sustainable solution;

1.  What are the causes of flooding in makoko community?

2.  What are the effects of flooding in the makoko community?

3.  What are the appropriate ways to reduce flooding and better the drainage channels in the area.

4.  Are those effects caused by natural or man made factors.

1.4   AIM AND OBJECTIVE

To accessflooding problems in Makoko area of Lagos state and proffer sustainable solution

i.  Identify and evaluate the drainage channels in the study area.

ii.  Examine the effects of flooding in the study area.

iii.  To examine the causes of flooding in the study area.

iv.  Examine past efforts of curbing the problem.

1.5    STUDY AREA

According to Squattercity (2007), Makoko settlement is primarily known as a fishing community whose inhabitant have lived and fished and lived on the local waters of Lagos lagoon for almost a hundred years with an estimated population of 85,165  the settlement is based partly on the lagoon and party on land bordering the lagoon. Some of the inhabitants of Makoko are notably immigrant fishermen. Inhabitants on the lagoon are said to be mainly the Ijaw and Egun people in Nigeria and from other neighbouring countries like Benin Republic, Cameroun, Ghana and Togo.There is a network of wooden planks that connects the settlement to the main land, which is also used by canoe makers and allows access to the outside world to buy the canoes. The inhabitants on land are said to be mainly Nigerians from different parts of the country. The community based on the land regularly suffers from heavy flooding that is knee deep. The average monthly income is said to be between 10,773 Naira (US $92) and 15,000 Naira (US$ 127) monthly. There are various occupations found in Makoko, but the major occupation found in the settlement are fishing and trading   (LMDP Report 2002).

1.6   JUSTIFICATION OF STUDY

The project research is pertinent as it attempts to asses the flooding problems in Makoko area of Lagos state. It presents a dynamic challenge to professionals in the built environment in terms of innovations in construction and development of infrastructures that can withstand the test of change, securing life and properties and at the same time maintaining the aesthetic, strength, comfort, compatibility and cost effectiveness of the environment without compromising quality.This research is of paramount importance to the government and their agencies especially planners either political or professionals as it brings to the fore the need for not only reactive but also pro-active measures by creating the necessary  framework and enacting appropriate policies necessary to mitigate and adapt  to the changes that may be ushered in by the adverse effect of flooding.

Flooding has been identified as one of the major factors that prevents Africa’s growing Population of city dwellers from escaping poverty and stands in the way of United Nations 2020 Goal of achieving significant improvement in the lives of urban slum dwellers(Action Aid, 2006). Social relations, structures and processes can influence the vulnerability of households and communities to floods through several pathways. On the other hand, social, economic, political, cultural and historical processes influence how flood hazards affect people in varying degrees and differing intensities.

This paper attempts to contribute to a better understanding of the drainage pattern and flooding problems and the vulnerability of communities in makoko, with particular reference to growth of the slum and risks from climate change. The impacts on and vulnerabilities of residents of the selected area of makoko community to the increasing risks of floods arising from inadequate drainage patterns.

1.7  SCOPE OF STUDY

This study attempts to asses the flooding problems in the Makoko area of Lagos State. This project emphasizes more on flooding problems with the major aim of assessing the flooding problems in the study area.This area (Makoko) was selected as it represents an area of recent activities in terms of the incidence of flood, this project would carefully assess the flooding problems in the Makoko area.

1.8  CONTRIBUTION TO KNOWLEDGE

Many flooding mitigating measures have been taken on local level mainly by state agencies, Local Government, private companies and even local organizations and institutional bodies. This paper contributes intensively to identifying the problems of flooding on the activities of selected vulnerable community in Lagos state. This project would contain data on, characteristics of a flood vulnerable community  in  Lagos state (Makoko) ; it would also evaluate the problems of flooding on human activities in the selected area, Furthermore, recommendations on plausible solutions in terms of mitigating and adaptation measures in light of flooding effects and the implementing strategies would be made as well as the structural analysis of both the positive and negative impacts of flooding.

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