Flooding in Lagos: A Practical Guide to Staying Safe and Saving Money

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You know how oftentimes, you can see the weather report and still be unsure that what the weatherman says will actually happen? To be fair, it’s all prediction. However, the only time the weatherman has my vote of confidence is during the rainy season in Nigeria. If the weather report says it’s going to rain especially in the month of June, there’s no doubt about it. This might ordinarily be a good thing because of the sweltering heat (link heat post), but for the people who live in flood prone areas like Lagos, it can be devastating. 

Ah, Lagos… The vibrant and bustling metropolis that we hate to love and love to hate. Being the overcrowded coastal megacity that it is with bad urban planning and drainage systems, the city grapples with the perennial issue of flooding, especially for those residing on the island. Sometimes it even gets flooded when there is no rain! I have seen the damage first hand, and let me tell you – it is not pretty.

Floods can have a devastating impact on every aspect of life in Lagos. They can damage roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, making it difficult to get around and access essential services. They can also destroy homes, businesses, and other property, leaving people homeless and without their livelihoods. Floods can spread diseases, as contaminated water can enter homes and businesses. They also damage ecosystems and pollute waterways, making it harder for people to access clean water.

There are a number of practical and innovative ways to mitigate the effects of constant rains and heavy floods. Let’s dive in (hehe) shall we? 

Clear Gutters and Drains

It is important to maintain clean gutters and drains. It might seem a little like an obvious solution, but this isn’t done nearly half as often as it should be. By removing debris and ensuring unobstructed pathways, we allow water to flow freely, preventing it from backing up and causing widespread flooding. Also, whatever water that does flow won’t be filthy and disease-ridden. It would also probably be easier to just stop littering.

Plant Trees

Trees are gorgeous. Also, by strategically planting trees like the Gmelina or African locust beans trees, we can tackle flooding from multiple angles. Not only do trees absorb water and reduce runoff, but they also provide shade, combating the urban heat island effect and making the environment more enjoyable. You might even be able to get some food from the trees in the future as a bonus.

Raise the Ground Level

For areas prone to flooding, a simple but effective solution is to raise the ground level. This can be done by adding soil or constructing raised platforms, which will create a physical barrier against rising waters. 

Install Pumps

When it comes to battling floods, employing some mechanical assistance might be your best bet. In flood-prone regions, installing pumps becomes essential to minimize water damage and prevent erosion. These marvellous contraptions can efficiently remove water from homes, businesses, and public areas. Pump it away from the problem source or even into water trucks.

Install Flood Vents

If you’re newly building or renovating, it is advisable to take the next step in protecting your property by incorporating flood vents. These discreet openings in walls and floors provide an escape route for water during flooding, minimizing damage and reducing the impact and damages on your property.

Use Flood-Resistant Materials

When constructing or renovating, make wise choices by opting for materials resistant to water damage. Some things are worth the extra cost. From waterproof paint to sealants and flooring, these choices will shield your property from the ravages of flooding. A little foresight during the building process can go a long way in preserving your property.

Raise Electrical Outlets and Switches

Raise outlets and switches off the ground, protecting them from water damage and preventing electrical hazards. You can get creative and find new ways to incorporate raised electrical outlets into your design. It is a small adjustment with significant rewards, ensuring both your safety and peace of mind.

Bonus Tips for Car Owners

Car owners are a little more vulnerable to this flooding issue, however there are some advantages to being mobile like being able to park your car in a safe and dry area. If you own a car, you have to take extra precautions during this season, or you could be left in a dangerous situation, and even lose your car. Here are a few things to consider:

Park your car in a safe place. If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, park your car in a high-ground area or in a parking garage if you can find one.

Disconnect the battery. This will help to prevent the battery from short-circuiting if water gets into the car.

Remember to close all the windows and doors. This will help to keep water out of the car.

Raise the car. If you have a car with air suspension, raise the car to its highest level. This will help to keep water out of the engine compartment and the interior of the car.

Protect the electronics. If you have a car with a lot of electronics, you may want to consider covering them with plastic sheeting or a tarp.

Be prepared to drive through water. If you must drive through water, do so slowly and carefully. Avoid driving through deep water, as this can damage the car’s engine and other components.

However, if your car does flood, there are a few things you can do to minimize the damage:

Turn off the car immediately. This will help to prevent the engine from being damaged.

Do NOT start the car. Even if the car seems to be running fine, starting it can cause further damage.

Have the car towed to a mechanic. The mechanic will be able to assess the damage and make repairs.

As we await more extensive solutions to address the flooding problem in Lagos, it is wise to adopt these strategies to safeguard lives and livelihoods. Although it may require effort and financial resources, implementing these practical measures is definitely worth it in the long run. Now let’s get up and start clearing drains!

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