49 Orode Street |Episode 2| High Water
- June 23, 2017
Sisi was fed up. The Landlord still had not fixed her mosquito netting. She had managed to fix the wardrobe and the kitchen window, but there was still the mosquito netting and the leaky faucet in the bathroom.
The rains had just begun. The gutters were crawling with garbage and the drainage system on the entire street was clogged.
One day, it rained all night long, and Sisi woke up to four inches of rain water outside her door.
Even the Landlord’s flat was affected, such that he was seen scooping water into corrugated iron pails with his children. His kerosene stove floated away.
Orode street was a small tribute to the fabled Atlantis, as residents had to take off their shoes and wade through the nearly waist deep water to go about their affairs.
One evening, Sisi went to visit her next door neighbour, Mrs Pedro.
She had come to like the middle aged widow who worked as teacher at the community secondary school, so she visited often.
‘Sisi Corper, is this your face?’ Mrs Pedro laughed, placing a saucer of chin chin beside Sisi.
‘Ma, it is this flooding issue. What can be done?’
Mrs Pedro laughed.
‘My daughter and sister, we have been going through this for years. The gutters are blocked. The drains are too shallow. Water everywhere.’ sighed Mrs Pedro.
‘Can we not clean the gutter, on the street, at least?’
‘Nobody wants to do the work.’ Mrs Pedro said between mouthfuls of chin chin.
‘Is there a residents’ association in this area?
‘Yes there is. Our Landlord is the chairman’
Sisi’s eyes widened. Little wonder. She was going to have a talk with him.
The next evening, she sat outside with the Landlord. He was dressed in his functional wife beater and trousers, a toothpick lodged in his mouth.
Sisi proceeded to talk to the man about the poor drainage, and the fact that the blocked drains made it impossible for rainwater to be collected into the appropriate channels. She implored him to use his influence as the Chairman of the Orode Residents’ Association to make a difference and control the rate of flooding in their area by organizing a gutter cleaning exercise.
The Landlord was pleased with the idea.
‘Corper, you have spoken well.’ The Landlord said. ‘I will call a meeting.’
Four weeks on, the landlord had still not called a meeting. Sisi kept sending reminders to to no avail. Here we go again, she thought to herself.
Then, she had an idea.
She usually attended weekly Community Development Service meetings at the National Youth Service office. She brought up the idea to clean up the Orode drainage system, as part of their sanitation project. Some members of the group were in support of the idea, while others did not care much for it.
Sisi proposed that the group would contribute funds, apply to private companies for sponsorship. The plan was to mobilize labourers to unblock the drains of some key areas in their community. Orode, Lambo and Yele, three popular areas in the town were the target areas for the project.
The group took a vote and most voted in favour of the idea. Sisi was pleased at the opportunity to make a difference.
Sisi worked feverishly on the project proposal with the members of her group. The corps members applied to several construction companies for sponsorship and participation in their project.
Veritas Construction, a big time construction firm accepted to sponsor part of the group project by pledging to build water collection points to channel the rain water as part of their corporate social responsibility.
The local government approved the project, and the corps members started work, aided by Veritas Construction.
Four months after that meeting with the Landlord, the drains on Orode street were cleared and water collecting channels brought the rain water into a large collection point which the town farmers would use to irrigate their farmlands in the dry season…
In 2012, flooding in parts of Nigeria killed 363 people and displaced over 2.1 million people as of 5 November 2012.
Reports by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) show that 30 of Nigeria’s 36 states were affected by the floods. The floods were termed as the worst in 40 years, and affected an estimated total of seven million people. The damage and losses caused by the floods were worth an estimated N2.6 trillion.
The rains are here again, and it is that time of year, when umbrellas and raincoats are taken out of storage and dusted off, ready for use.
When the wet season is at its peak, it is not unusual for flooding to occur in certain areas, especially in coastal and rainforest regions where the volume of rainfall is higher than the sahel savannah and other areas.
Flooding can range from overflowing drainage systems to severe situations where lives and property are displaced and destroyed as a consequence of the downpour.
Flooding also takes a toll on residential areas, as property and valuable items are destroyed, persons are displaced from their homes and victims’ homes are exposed to post flood hazards such as risks of electrocution and mould infestation.
Nigeria is a tropical location, and it is not uncommon for malaria outbreaks to occur as a result of pools stagnant water formed after the rains which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Rainfall is a natural occurrence. However, flooding is a likely consequence which can be prevented and mitigated.
Sisi was able to look for ways to solve the problem of flooding in her residential area through her community development project. Here is a rundown of several ways to prevent and control flooding.
Here are some flood prevention and control measures for your information.
#1. Building Water Collection Points
By building water collection points such as dams, retention ponds and lakes, the risk of flooding can be mitigated to a large extent. In the same vein, the water collected can be used for irrigation, construction and other uses.
#2. Preventive Landscaping
This includes planting trees, plants and shrubs, especially in low lying areas and flatlands. This serves as a control measure for floods as the plants prevent the rains from breaking through and causing major damage. Go green and watch the water recede.
#3. Clear Gutters and Drains
This is a fundamental step in flood protection. The gutters and drains collect rainwater and channel them away, thereby reducing the chances of flooding. However, when they are blocked and filled with refuse and dirt, rainwater accumulates and overflows into the streets. It is important for communities and settlements to keep their drains clean, to enable them channel rainwater and prevent flooding.
#4. Fix Leaks Immediately
It is pertinent to fix all leaky spots immediately they occur, as the risk of flooding increases when there are leaks in a building, especially the roofing sheets. Take great care to inspect the roof from time to time, and repair damaged roofing sheets. Do this and reduce the chances of being swept away.
Flooding can have devastating effects on the society. However, with careful planning and sensitization of communities on causes, effects and preventive measures with regard to flooding, the debilitating effects of flooding will be brought to a minimum.
Enjoy the rains, and be safe.