Current Issues in Early Warning and Development Initiatives Towards Enhanced Flood-Related Resilience in Nigeria [chapter]

Ugonna C. Nkwunonwo
2020 Flood Impact Mitigation and Resilience Enhancement [Working Title]  
More than 4 years since the UNISDR Sendai framework replaced its predecessor, Hyogo, communities' resilience to flooding is still a major issue for especially the developing countries (DCs) such as Nigeria where there are unresolved limitations with early warning systems. The recent increase in human and economic damages caused by floods and the inability of communities to recover from the effects, despite years after the disaster, indicate that the global concept of resilience has not been
more » ... y grasped. Nigeria, which is the subject of this chapter, typifies this situation. Evidently, the historic flooding of 2012 and its predecessors affected many communities and individual victims most of whom are still struggling with disaster recovery and reconstruction. This raises important research questions. What is not understood in the present context is that government institutions have made a lot of politicizing various interventions and local initiative, but the present reality is a "pathetic travesty of disaster recovery." This chapter elucidates on these issues through theoretical discussions on community participation, risk-informed investment, and rural adaptation, all of which can be advocated to facilitate community resilience and coping capacity to all variants of flood hazards in Nigeria. The attribution of flooding largely reflects a variety of factors, which includes at least, rapid urban growth, the development of coastal cities, sea level rises, and poor planning ideology to accommodate fast-paced urban development. Climate change is also high on the chain of attribution of flood risk. Extant research (e.g., [1] [2] [3] ) reveals that climate change is escalating the frequency of low-to highduration high intensity rainfall events, which is the main trigger of pluvial urban flooding in recent times. Within a global context, the poorest and least-prepared communities are subject to large-scale impacts of these events, which also undermine their potential to develop economically while they aim to mitigate the loss of human lives and development efforts. In case of sea level rises, climate change has over time forced a cumulative rise in the global sea level that now compromises the usual structural defenses up to 1 in 1000-year flooding. Simple techniques based on appropriate flood risk management concepts can save lives and reduce losses. This includes the use of modern technology, which utilizes geospatial infrastructure to identify and map areas prone to flooding and to inform appropriate action toward disaster preparedness, rescue, and recovery. This is more of a United Nations International strategy on Disaster reduction (UNISDR) concept of living with floods rather than fighting them. The principles underlying this concept are the importance of building communities' resilience to recurrent flooding events. Evidence from best practices in flood risk and disaster management reveals that building communities' resilience to flooding reflects two main factors: the establishment of timely warning systems and adequate investment in key infrastructure, with sustainable development initiatives [4] [5] [6] . Early warning systems, through communication of flood risk assessment and uncertainties, are important to improve the communities' preparedness and to help them make better decisions for their safety [7, 8] . This is a good step toward reducing human and economic impacts of flooding. However, the studies of Fakhruddin et al. [9] and Smith et al. [10] , which both focused on community-based flood of early warning systems in Asia, suggest that the implementation early warning systems and communication of flood assessment in the DCs raise vital research discussions. This is now more crucial than ever with the increasing human development on the coastal areas of these DCs, along with the rate of investments in risk management and public infrastructure, which does not resonate well with a formidable sustainable development initiatives. Of course, sustainable development can build-up the emergency response and rescue currency and assist in meeting the challenges that occur much later, such as epidemics, loss of infrastructure and displacement of people from their homes. It is obvious that real development of urban centers makes significant and dominant contributions toward building communities' resilience to flooding. However, Cohen [11] underlined a major issue that is often overlooked in this regard, which relates particularly to how to give communities in the DCs the needed capacities to thrive amidst the formidable sustainable development challenges. The experience of flooding in Nigeria provides some interesting insights into these challenges, the limitations in early warning systems, and how communities' lack of capacities to thrive amidst formidable sustainable development affects their resilience to flooding. Sadly, more than 4 years since the Sendai framework replaced its predecessor, Hyogo, the resilience of many communities in Nigeria to flooding is still a major issue. Of course, there are success stories here and there; however, the increase in human and economic damages caused by floods and the inability of communities to recover from the effects of floods, despite years after the disaster, indicate some asymmetries in the concept of resilience. This chapter aims to address these issues which offer significant insights into the current debates in flood disaster management. It outlined a number of specific challenges to building communities' 3 Current Issues in Early Warning and Development Initiatives Towards Enhanced Flood-Related... DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.91247 resilience to flood disasters in Nigeria. The experiences of communities in Lokoja, Kogi state, which were affected during the 2012 flood in Nigeria, are explored to provide useful insights into the shortcomings in early warning systems and development processes in Nigeria and how they affect communities' resilience to flooding. The chapter raised issues related to community participation, risk-based investment, and rural adaptation programs, all of which can be advocated to facilitate community resilience and coping capacity to all variants of flood hazards in Nigeria.
doi:10.5772/intechopen.91247 fatcat:qjbxjz7exbcg5lvruvo3o7omne