NEED FOR GLOBAL COOPERATION AGAINST FLOODING
By Offong Umoh Offong
This year, many countries have witnessed devastating floods of varying degrees with severe consequences to man and his environment. The United Sates of America is just recovering from the catastrophe unleashed by hurricane sandy. The aftermath is horrifying. Just within four days, it killed 93 people, displaced over a million people and left millions without electricity.
In Nigeria, flooding lasted for almost five months and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency is still warning of more rains. So far, 137 Nigerians have been killed by floods this year. Over one million people have been displaced internally. Farmlands, crops, animals, houses, bridges have all been swept away by floods.
Nigeria has always witnessed flood devastation over the years, yet, in the past few weeks, the record was broken. Many parts of the country have been submerged by floods, as major rivers like the Niger and Benue, burst their banks and as a result of excess water being released from Lagbo dam in Cameroun.
And so, as Nigeria USA and some other country grapple with flooding that is ravaging their many communities, there are concerns for a global cooperation to tackle it, especially as it is assuming international dimension.
Flooding is one of the most widespread natural disasters occurring due to various reasons like heavy rainfall, damming of rivers, hurricanes, melting of snow and non adherence to the environmental laws by man in his quest for development.
The major effects of floods are destruction of life and property and the devastating effects on the environment. In areas where there are no measures to predict occurrence and to evacuate people to safety, the losses are unquantifiable.
Although the beauty of flood has been identified in the fact that, in many natural systems, floods play an important role in maintaining key ecosystem functions and biodiversity, yet, its bad sides overwhelm the good ones. For instance, while cycling of sediments and nutrients is essential to a healthy system, too much sediment and nutrient entering a waterway, has negative impacts on downstream water quality.
China, Australia, Thailand the Netherlands, Guatemala, North Vietnam, France and many others have some time in the past suffered various degrees devastation occasioned by flooding.
According to a new report by the world’s second-largest reinsurer, the Swiss Re, the cost of floods worldwide has more than doubled over the last ten years and now rivals earthquake losses. It says with an estimated 500 million people affected each year; no other natural disaster has such impact on many people as flooding. Here lies the call for a more serious global action against the menace.
Countries in Europe such as France, the Netherlands, and England as well as in the Americas have adopted different measures that have been successful in curbing flooding.
But these individual efforts by countries may be temporary and may not solve the problem because many countries lack the expertise and resources required to overcome or mitigate flooding on their own.
Flooding has assumed international dimension as a result of which urgent and decisive international cooperation is required to tackle the enormous danger posed by it.
Governments around the world, international relief agencies and other relevant global bodies must unite against flooding. There must be cooperation either at the regional or continental level to confront the scourge that has taken the lives of millions of people, destroyed properties, producing millions of refugees in its wake.
Global efforts must be galvanized not only to predict and stave-off flood disasters but to also develop the capacity to control it whenever it occurs within or across country borders.
Broadcast on Monday November 05, 2012
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