GIS Based Analysis of Niger-Benue River Flood Risk and Vulnerability of Communities in Kogi State, Nigeria
European Journal of Environment and Earth Sciences
Flood remains one of the most common natural disasters. Its rate of occurrence and the associated destructive tendency are on a rising scale across the globe. Flood risk may increase due to human activities. It could also decrease by appropriate flood management and planning. However, this requires upgraded and newly generated reliable and up to date floodplain and flood vulnerability maps. Hence, this study analysed the Niger-Benue river flood risk and vulnerability of 256 communities in Kogi
... tate. The aim is to generate reliable up to date flood vulnerability maps that categorises the communities into different vulnerability zones and identify likely locations for erecting flood shelter/refugee camps during flood events in the State. Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (STRM) Digital Elevation Datasets, the spatial location of 256 communities, shapefiles of Kogi State's administrative boundaries and Niger-Benue river basin were among the datasets acquired for the study. The Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of the study area was created to depict topography and the heights of each component of the terrain. Also, a 3km buffer distance was created around the Niger-Benue river and four vulnerability zones were defined based on the terrain and proximity components of each community. Furthermore, choropleth maps were generated for each vulnerability zone based on the number of communities per Local Government Area (LGA). Findings of this study revealed that out of the 256 sampled communities, 161 representing 62.89% are exposed to varying degrees of vulnerability due to Niger-Benue flooding. Out of these, 33 (12.89%) are highly vulnerable, whereas each of the vulnerable (64) and marginally vulnerable (64) communities accounted for 25%. The rest 37.11% constituted the not vulnerable communities (95). Out of the highly vulnerable communities, 27.27% accounted for those located on river banks and 72.73% for those located within a 3km distance from the river. The majority of the riverbank communities were found in Kogi, Lokoja and Ajaokuta LGAs. Igalamela Odolu, Kogi, Ofu and Bassa were among the LGAs with a high number of vulnerable communities. The not vulnerable communities were mostly located around the Agbaja Plateau and Okoro-Agbo hills in Ijumu, Kabba/Bunu and Yaba East LGAs. It was concluded that the 9 communities (Ajaokuta, Eroko, Iche, Jamata, Numai, Okume, Agodo, Denbor and Gunji Twaki) located on river banks are exposed to the highest level of flood risk and invariably, the devastating impact of flood in Kogi State. Most communities in Ijumu, Kabba/Bunu and Yaba West LGAs are less likely to be affected by Niger-Benue River flooding. It is therefore recommended that communities within the highly vulnerable zones, beginning with the 9 located on river banks should be relocated to higher terrains. Also, future settlement development should be discouraged in the zone by the collaborative efforts of the State and LGA authorities. Further studies should be conducted around Ijumu LGA in view of identifying the most suitable locations for possible flood shelter/refugee camp development in the study area.