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Flooding causes respiratory diseases

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By Mercy Kelani

Public health physicians advised residents to be health conscious.

For Nigerians who live in coastal areas like Lagos State, the past few weeks has had them sharing bad news as the rains keeps unleashing a deluge enough to cause deaths and losses. Nevertheless, aside the devastation and frustration accompanied by the rains, Lagos State residents who live in flooded parts of the state have been advised by Public Health physicians to be health conscious and listen to warnings given by relevant authorities for temporary relocation.

According to the physicians, people who have chosen to ignore the warning and still reside in flooded houses might become sick with worm infestations and respiratory infections. Senior health professionals said that flooding is accompanied by many health challenges as it causes people exposure to water borne diseases and skin infections. A professor of Public Health and President of National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, Ijanikin, Akin Osibogun, said that victims of flooding could suffer life-threatening diarrhoeal and respiratory diseases.

Dampness causes transmission of diarrhoeal diseases.

It was further added by the public health physician and epidemiologist that residing in areas affected by flood increases the risk of drowning, aside the health implications it bears. Explaining more insightfully about the risks associated with flood, the consultant said that aside the risk of drowning, there are usually transmissions of respiratory and diarrhoeal diseases in these environments, as a result of the dampness. Microbes easily possess the ability to grow and multiply in such areas.

Former Chief Medical Director of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) said that the government and relevant agencies have been making announcements and issuance of flood alerts for the year without implementing actions for the mitigation of its effects. He said that some times, people who reside in flood-prone areas might have to be moved from their houses temporarily until the flood subsides. The professor asserted that the state government is responsible for the protection of the health of the people, and valuables.

There are long-term implications associated with flooding.

However, the Minister of State for the Environment, Ishaq Salako, said that the ministry has developed a flood warning system that warns people five days before flood. In August, the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Ahmed, stated that states like Bayelsa, Lagos, Delta, and Rivers had a high risk of coastal flooding. This warning was given at the public presentation of the 2023 Climate-related Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation Strategies in Abuja, collaboratively produced by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency and the Nigerian Hydrological Services.

A Public Health Physician and Epidemiologist, Dr. Japhet Olugbogi, said that flooding causes contamination to water bodies and circulates infections. The Medical Officer of Health, Ifelodun Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Lagos State, said that several kinds of infections are present in flooded environments, cautioning that reptiles could also invade homes. He said that there are health risks associated with waterlogged areas. There are long-term implications associated with flooding, and affected people might be ignorant of their health conditions.

Residents should stop dumping refuse in drainage channels.

Also, drinking water can be easily contaminated by flood. People who experience flooding in their environments are advised to move to a neutral ground. Likewise, the government should try their best possible to communicate with the people whenever there is a warning alert about flooding. The state Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, also implored residents of Lagos State to stop dumping refuse in drainage channels. He added that the new administration will provide a lasting solution to the issue, and advised residents to ensure an Hygienic Environment.


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