Flooding is a major challenge that residents of Port Harcourt and surrounding areas face each year. And it always happens at a particular time in the heart of the rainy season. precisely from July to October.
For those living in flood-prone areas, the rainy season is a foreshadowing of trouble, due to the ugly experiences of years past. The essence of history is to prevent reinventing the ugly past and using past experiences to rebuild a better future. Unfortunately, history repeats itself because people don’t want to learn from the past or use the past to improve the future.
It is pertinent to say that the rainy season is exclusively an act of God. But the damage caused by floodwaters is most often a response to human activities that are hostile and little complementary to the environment that God, in his infinite wisdom, has created to be the habitat of man. Human beings are the architect of obvious environmental hazards.
Following the sequence of creation, on the third day God created the earth for humans and some animals, although scientists posit that animal life actually began in water.
The sovereign God who is omnibenevolent (all good), created the day and the night as well as the dry and rainy seasons.
It is essential to state that even global warming with consequent changes in times and seasons, atmospheric conditions and cosmic radiations, dry and rainy seasons are constant, although they may not occur when we usually know. Human activities, hostility to the environment can only alter the timing of the onset of the seasons, but their certainty is tied to the laws of nature that operate on the infallible word of God. Only God or his servant whom he chooses to justify, has the power to alter the course of nature, as Joshua declared that the “sun should stand still” and Elijah decreed that there should be no rain for “one season” in the then north. kingdom of Israel under Ahab and there was no rain for three years. It’s amazing.
The rains must come, even if they are late or by divine intervention they have been interrupted. The earlier people lived in anticipation of this harsh reality, the better for them. Knowing that something is about to happen helps prepare the wise person to face the challenges associated with such expectations in advance. When people pretend to ignore the reality of negative events, it is a state of delusion and fatalism. Fatalism is denying what is real. It is a state of illusion and should not be interpreted as faith because it has nothing to do with faith. Rather, it is a state of mental and psychological imbalance.
With the torrential rains that have been evident for the past few days in parts of the state, this is a clear signal and telltale sign that flooding is imminent.
Undoubtedly, the rainy season is a blessing for mankind. God designed it to promote food production, vegetation growth, weather stabilization and a balance in the natural equation of creation according to the incomprehensible wisdom of God.
But the sordid experiences of previous years have shown that human antagonism to the environment has created avoidable mishaps, pain and heartache for mankind.
For example, for six consecutive years, flooding has been common and endemic in some local government areas of the state despite warning from meteorologists. These local government areas, mainly coastal, have always been victims of devastating floods which have resulted in colossal loss of life and property.
Some communities in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Ahoada East, Ahoada West, Abua/Odual, Andoni, Degema, Akuku Toru, Asari Toru, local government areas, even Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government areas have their tale of woes told as predicted by metrologists.
Last year, the flooding situation was so bad that even Station Road, the Government House axis, up to Azikiwe Road were affected. SPAR, located along this road was forced to close shop due to the invasion of rainwater.
Residents of some communities were evacuated, some who heeded the warning were relocated to another environment, while those unlucky were victimized and counted their losses.
Even with such sordid experiences in the immediate past, which reduced those affected to an almost less human state, it is disconcerting that people forget in a hurry, which is why history repeats itself.
The narration of historical events is an intentional and conscious effort to improve human well-being and the development of our society.
When people therefore fail to learn from the past, they wade dangerously into the future and end up encountering a waterloo. The essence of knowledge of the past is to secure the future.
It is relevant to say that flooding does not happen by chance, nor is it demonic architecture. Floods are mainly caused by human acts contrary to a decent society.
Environmentalists have countless times told what residents should or should not do, to prevent flooding. Some of the things to avoid as a recipe for a flood-free environment are blocking water channels, dumping waste into gutters/drainages, building on waterways, and building a road without a deep drainage system that connects to a flowing river. It is necessary for the residents of the state, especially the flood-prone local government areas, to cultivate and imbibe the culture of environmental cleanliness. The environment is one of God’s best gifts to humanity, so it should not be treated lightly and degraded.
For a few months in a row, the Rivers State Waste Management Agency has not conducted a monthly remediation drill, failure to conduct a remediation drill should not determine whether the drainages and gutters in Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor and neighboring local government areas need cleaning. Cleaning our environment should be instinctive and innate. No sensible, level-headed person should be instructed on the need to clean their place of residence or surroundings. Cleanliness, it is often said, is close to godliness. It saves the environment from infestations of mosquitoes and other rodents and reptiles, and their negative consequences such as malaria, snakebites, etc.
The monthly sanitation exercise should be a stimulus and a stimulus rather than a substitute for the intentional commitment to personally cleaning our environment.
Now that the rain is here, the people of the state should make sure that the drains and water channels are cleared and cleaned and that the waste is taken to approved landfills.
Guarding against a repeat of the pain the floods have caused many in the state is mastery rather than frantic efforts to deal with the floods when they have already happened.
Now that the rain is here and likely to rain heavily this year, according to forecasts from meteorologists, everyone needs to be on deck to stop a repeat of the horrific past. Residents of flood prone areas in Port Harcourt and Obio Akpor Local Government Areas like Peter Odili Road, East West Road, NTA Road, Ada George Road, Azikiwe Road etc. should prepare for the challenge of flood waters and quickly avoid the trend.
Rivers State Government and Local Government Council Chairpersons must not rest on their laurels to identify flood-prone areas and prevent their recurrence.
“One point in time”, it is said, “saves nine”.
By: Igbiki Benibo