Monday, September 12, 2011

Ibadan flood: Are the gods angry?

An editorial in the Nigerian Tribune by Oke Peter Olatunde: It started like the normal soothing showers from above, but at the end of the day, it turned a furious devastating rain. The recent flood tragedy that befell Ibadan metropolis on the evening of Friday, 26 August, 2011 was one flood too many. The caring governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, arrived the state five days after the unfortunate incident, allegedly cutting short his lesser hajj in Saudi Arabia, to assess the damage done by the deluge, which he described as Omibaluje (meaning water has destroyed the city). He said the havoc wrecked on the affected areas of the state was greater than that of August 31, 1980 Omiyale Ibadan disaster. The official figure of the dead were put at 102, while many are still missing, with property worth billions of naira destroyed.

But it was a surprise that three days after the disaster, effective rescue operation was not put in place by the concerned authorities, as inspection of affected areas was given more priority than saving the lives of trapped victims.

Perhaps, this disaster could have been prevented. There were several warnings early this year by the Nigeria Meterological Agency (NIMET), that there might be excessive rain which might result in flood as a result of climate change.

Eleanor Roosevelt, a former American president asserted that “the only danger to our democracy is that the people will not carry their share of responsibility”. With regard to the Ibadan flood, comments are being made daily as to who should be held responsible for the damage done. No one wants to take responsibility. Many are of the view that it was the effect of climatic change that culminated in the raging flood disaster. Do we blame the government for its failure to provide proper drainage that could ease free flow of water or should the masses be accused of careless dumping of refuse and reckless building on surface drainage, which has led to blockage of water channels?

Locator map of Ibadan, Nigeria, by Jaimz height-field, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

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