Expert warns flood victims against returning home

Posted by News Express | 3 November 2012 | 2,747 times

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Victims of the recent flood disaster across the country who are thinking of returning to their ancestral homes following the recession of the floods have been warned against doing so.

Mazi Sunday Oriala, a geo-environment development expert, gave the warning in Umuahia while reacting to a statement credited to the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMETA) to the effect that rainfall during this month and December would not be accompanied by flood erosion.

Describing the statement as “sweeping,” Oriala who is also an Estate Surveyor and Valuer, is of the view that factors on ground do not support the view that the rains in November and December would not be accompanied by flooding. The Umuahia, Abia State-based environmentalist stressed that returnee flood victims may suffer same fate again and would discover to their dismay that they celebrated rather too early.

The expert who is an accredited Environment Consultant with Federal Ministry of Environment (Pollution Department) argued that it is the duty of the respective state governments to prevail upon the flood victims from returning home rather early.

“I am also using this opportunity to advise the states where the floods are receding to stop inhabitants of flood-prone areas from repossessing their homes until January 2013,” he warned in a statement he made available to News Express.

Oriala (shown in photo) explained that the flood disaster that swept through the country this year was exacerbated “by massive capital river silica sand dredging for buildings and road construction, apart from water volume increase in coastal areas incidental to adverse climate change.”

Massive deforestation which has taken its toll on the environment and has remained the force driving the kinetic energy of flood erosion and wind storm havoc, he noted, would make it possible for expected rainfall to be accompanied by windstorms.

He identified river sand dredging and removal of land sand surface for building purposes as twin activities that created  uneven levels along river beds and on lands, making them liable to “flood erosion by gradients, poor ecological succession and impaired Estuarian hydraulics.”

The Environmentalist maintained that poor regulation by concerned authorities has resulted in payment of inadequate attention to regular maintenance dredging of river beds in the country even as  he blamed municipal powers for looking the other way while “delinquents” remove surface land sand in the rural areas.

Oriala contended that Lokoja was badly ravaged by the flood because there has been no initiative by National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to protect the river banks of the former capital of Nigeria which has remained at an angle of about 25 degrees elevation to the River Niger/Benue Confluence from flood erosion spreading to the fragile, sprawling mainland.

He advised the federal government to go beyond giving financial assistance to states affected by floods to proffering permanent solution “to contain the vicissitudes of non-conflict security risks posed by flood erosion, windstorms and building collapse, among others.”

Source: News Express

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