Disasters such as droughts, hurricanes, earthquakes, cyclones and floods are quite often described as natural disasters; they are prompted by the force of nature which cannot be conventionally explained and controlled by the wisdom of man. They are responsible for phenomenal devastation on lives, the environment, and livelihoods. Due to their connection with the forces of nature, the damages caused by these disasters are hardly held to human’s account. They are viewed as the work of God, even in contract law, and they are found in Forces Majeure clauses that provides accessible escape paths for contractual responsibilities’ non-performance.
There is an argument that using mathematical exactitude, made by developed science and technology, to predict the outcomes of natural disasters might blame nature if necessary precautions are not taken to mitigate the effects. If this phenomenon loses its naturalness with apparent mathematical predictability and element of regularity, then it should be tagged unnatural disasters or governance disaster owing to the destructive effects of flood disaster in Nigeria, 2022, which should have been curbed by appropriate measures.
This disaster is no longer a one-time phenomenon.
With a drive from Port Harcourt to Delta State, through the East and West road, the effect of the 2022 flood on the roads and communities is apparent, showing the weak post-disaster risk management and slow recovery. The major route in the East/West road has not been accessible in Niger Delta, both in and out as it has been left forgotten and undeveloped. Also, collapsed buildings that were not rebuilt due to the impoverished state of the owners in the region have also been heavily affected by the flood. This is likewise the plight of Anambra, Benue, Kogi and other states that are affected by the flood.
Report from the Federal Government in 2022 stated that there were economic losses as a result of the climate change disaster which accounted for over N4.2 trillion. Statistically, over 4.9 million citizens were affected negatively by the flood disaster and a total of 603 people died. As a result of this, the degrading conditions for hurriedly prepared camps for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) due to the emotional upset is incalculable under cost. This disaster is no longer a one-time phenomenon due to its frequent occurrence as well as other natural disasters across the globe.
Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) forecasts 2023 flood disasters.
Warnings of doomsday and predictions on natural disasters are current experiences in Nigeria. For instance, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), early in 2022, in its Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) forecasted flood disasters. However, nothing much was done beyond the warnings and prediction to mitigate the consequences of the forecasts which was described as the most devastating one in the last thirty years. The effects of this led to the dependence of people on handouts from charitable organisations, corporate, well-meaning individuals and the government for survival.
Another worry of this tragic happening is the prediction of yet another one. Significantly, there is no wide difference between 2022 predictions and The Annual Flood Outlook for 2023. According to the forecast, 178 LGAs in 32 states including FCT in Nigeria will fall between the Highly Probable Flood Risk Areas, 372 LGAs will fall within the Probable Flood Risks Areas and 224 LGAs in 35 States of the Federation including FCT will fall within the Moderately Probable Flood Risks Areas. This statistics shows that the risk of flood-prone communities becoming alarming and more dreadful.
State gov’t should construct tributaries and local rivers.
Apparently, there is a visible case of marginalization of unplanned incidents that threaten the existence of numbers of Nigerian citizens. State and local government should engaged in construction of tributaries and local rivers to avert flooding. Also, there should be a construction and equipment of IDP camps, that are fit to serve as human habitation, in readiness for the flooding. In addition, the experience of the flood disaster in 2022 is devastating, and with science and technology, which are relevant in curbing the excesses of nature, its effects should be mitigated.