Lagos floods: Africa’s most populous city could be unlivable in a few decades, experts warn

Welcome to Lagos throughout wet season.

Residents of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, are used to the yearly floods that engulf the coastal metropolis throughout the months of March to November. In mid-July, nevertheless, the foremost enterprise district of Lagos Island skilled certainly one of its worst floods lately.

“It was very unhealthy, and strange,” Eselebor Oseluonamhen, 32 instructed CNN.

“I drove out of my home … I did not notice it had rained a lot … There was heavy site visitors on my route due to the flood. The extra we went, the upper the water stage. The water stored rising till it coated the bumper of my automotive … then there was water flowing inside my automotive,” Oseluonamhen, who runs a media agency on the Lagos mainland, recalled.

Photos and videos posted to social media confirmed dozens of autos inundated with water after torrential rain. The floods paralyze financial exercise, at an estimated cost of around $4 billion per 12 months.
House to greater than 24 million folks, Lagos, a low-lying metropolis on Nigeria’s Atlantic coast, might develop into uninhabitable by the tip of this century as sea ranges rise because of local weather change, scientific projections counsel.
The issue is exacerbated by “insufficient and poorly maintained drainage techniques and uncontrolled city development,” amongst others, based on a study led by the Institute of Development Studies.
Nigeria’s hydrological company NIHSA has predicted extra catastrophic flooding in September, normally the height of the wet season.

Eroding shoreline

Lagos is partly constructed on the mainland and a string of islands.

It’s grappling with an eroding shoreline that makes town weak to flooding, which Nigerian environmentalist Seyifunmi Adebote says is attributable to world warming and “human-induced motion over a chronic interval.”
Sand mining for development is a significant contributor to shoreline erosion in Lagos, environmental consultants have said.

Manzo Ezekiel, a spokesman for Nigeria’s emergency administration company (NEMA), instructed CNN that the riverbank of Lagos’ Victoria Island is already being “washed away … significantly within the V.I space of Lagos.” “There’s this downside of the river financial institution being washed away. The rise in water stage is consuming into the land,” Ezekiel added.

In Victoria Island, an prosperous Lagos neighborhood — a wholly new coastal metropolis christened ‘Eko Atlantic’ — is being constructed on land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean, and will probably be protected against rising waters by an 8-kilometer-long wall created from concrete blocks, builders say.
A cargo ship passes along a waterway during construction at the Eko Atlantic city site in February 2016.

Whereas the formidable challenge may contribute to decreasing housing shortages in different elements of town, Ezekiel fears that “reclaiming land from the ocean will put strain on different coastal areas.”

Different critics have argued that adjoining areas not protected by the wall will probably be left weak to tidal surges. CNN has contacted Eko Atlantic for remark.

Coastal cities liable to being submerged

Low-lying coastal cities in some elements of the world could also be completely submerged by 2100, one study’s findings confirmed. The examine printed by analysis group Local weather Central acknowledged that affected areas may sink under the high-tide line if sea ranges proceed to rise.
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“Because of heat-trapping air pollution from human actions, rising sea ranges may inside three many years push persistent floods increased than land presently dwelling to 300 million folks,” the examine mentioned. “By 2100, areas now dwelling to 200 million folks may fall completely under the excessive tide line,” it added.

International sea ranges have been predicted to rise greater than 6 ft (2 meters) by the tip of this century.
This leaves Lagos, which consultants say is lower than two meters above sea, in a precarious state, given {that a} chunk of Nigeria’s shoreline is low-lying. In a study from 2012, the UK’s College of Plymouth discovered {that a} sea-level rise of simply 3 to 9 ft (about 1 to three meters) “could have a catastrophic impact on the human actions” in Nigerian coastal environments.

Adebote instructed CNN that Lagos’ destiny “would rely on how we prioritize this science prediction and what corresponding actions we take as a response.” “It is just a matter of time earlier than nature pushes again and this might be a catastrophe,” he added.

Nigeria lethal floods

Perennial flooding in Nigeria’s coastal areas has left many lifeless and scores displaced. In response to NEMA data, greater than 2 million folks have been immediately affected by flooding in 2020.

At the least 69 folks misplaced their lives in flood disasters final 12 months. In 2019, greater than 200,000 folks have been affected by floods with 158 fatalities.

“Yearly we witness flooding in Nigeria. It’s a downside that local weather change has introduced and we live with it,” Ezekiel instructed CNN.

A man in Lagos wades through the aftermath of a heavy downpour in 2012.

Past Lagos’ vulnerability to local weather change, poor drainage techniques and clogged road gutters in giant swathes of town are believed to have escalated its flooding challenges.

“As a lot as local weather change performs an element in rising sea ranges, what you’ll be able to see on this video is predominantly a drainage system problem,” a social media person tweeted whereas reacting to a video of the current flooding in Lagos.
Nevertheless, as flooding rages in some areas, low-income neighborhoods constructed on reclaimed wetlands should contend with sinking buildings.

Protecting Lagos afloat

Adebote instructed CNN that for Lagos to remain afloat within the face of floods and rising sea ranges, it should adapt to local weather change.

“We have to have a look at our infrastructures — drainage techniques, waste administration amenities, housing constructions … How resilient and adaptive are these infrastructures within the face of environmental pressures and when put side-by-side with our rising inhabitants?” he mentioned.

An aerial view of Lagos Island in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, in April 2016.
Authorities in Lagos have since commenced the clearing of the state’s water channels to mitigate perennial flooding.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has also expressed the nation’s willingness to associate with world allies in tackling local weather change.

“We glance ahead working with President [Joe] Biden and Vice President [Kamala] Harris. We now have nice hope and optimism for the strengthening of present cordial relationships, working collectively to deal with world terrorism, local weather change, poverty, and to enhance financial ties and commerce,” Buhari wrote in a January tweet.

However Adebote remarks that authorities responses to local weather motion “have been largely poor.”

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“There’s a lot that should be carried out and can take constant and deliberate actions on the elements of varied stakeholders for Nigeria to correctly take local weather actions, particularly in adapting to the impacts which are already threatening our livelihood,” he added.

An environmental activist, Olumide Idowu, urged authorities authorities to associate with the personal sector with a view to enhance funds to deal with the problems.

“Authorities ought to have a look at personal sector partnerships to ensure that them to drive local weather finance to unravel the flooding points,” Idowu instructed CNN.

Nigeria’s financial system has struggled lately, shrinking financing for local weather change and different vital sectors. Authorities are nonetheless nonetheless pledging to ramp up the nation’s local weather change response.

Final month, Nigeria’s Ministry of Setting announced a presidential approval for a revamped nationwide coverage on local weather change, geared toward addressing “most, if not all, of the challenges posed by local weather change and local weather vulnerability within the nation,” a spokesman for the ministry wrote in Twitter submit.

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