EFFECT OF CLIMATE CHANGE (FLOOD) ON HOUSING FOR THE URBAN POOR IN ILAJESOMOLU LOCAL GOVERNMENT. A RESEARCH PROJECT MATERIAL ON ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
In the past four decades, economic losses due to natural hazards such as, floods disasters have increased in many folds and have also resulted in major loss of human lives and livelihoods, the destruction of economic and social infrastructure, as well as environmental damages (Munich, 2002). Flood could be seen as one of the most common natural disasters in the world. Floods, one of natural hazards result from the potential for extreme geographical events, to create an unexpected threat to human life and property (Smith, 1996). When severe floods occur in areas occupied by humans, they can create natural disasters which involve the loss of human life and property plus serious disruption to the ongoing activities of large urban and rural communities (Smith and Ward, 1998).
However, besides the negative flood impact such as damage to houses and other buildings, loss of life, loss of jobs or income, disruption of the network of social contact, and interruption to normal access to education, health and food services, there can be a variety of positive flood impacts, for instance, increased fertility of agricultural land (Parker et al. 1987). For poorer groups, some of the impacts are very direct, if flood becomes more frequent and hazardous. The urban poor are the most vulnerable socially, economically and physically to the impacts of extreme events and, to the impact of adverse environmental tendencies resulting from climate change such as flood, drought, increasing sea-level etc. Vulnerability, is a critical dimension of poverty, though synonymous with poverty, but refers to defenselessness and insecurity (Idowu, 2011). With the increasing number of urban dwellers worldwide, the number of people at risk or vulnerable to flood hazards is likely to increase. Any increase in disasters, whether large or small, will threaten development gains and hinder the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (UN-ISDR, 2008). Disasters such as flooding, poses serious challenge to the economy of a nation. It must be noted that the economic environment of a nation consists of its financial systems, social welfare, power sector, transportation, investments, commerce, manufacturing, construction and banking among others.
Disasters when they occur usually result in pains and huge losses to the economy and in most cases; it is always difficult to quantify the actual cost of damages and recovery. A single case of disaster such as the one that occurred in Lagos, Nigeria on July 10, 2011 actually destroyed several years of developmental efforts. In flood disaster, there are loss of lives, destruction of public utilities and disruption in the smooth functioning of the system that renders fear and uncertainties among the populace. In addition, there was loss of livelihoods, damage to the environment, financial loss, and diversion of resources, epidemics, migration, food shortages and displacement of the people. The impact can be very high in the urban areas, because the areas affected are densely populated and contain vital infrastructure such as in Ilaje community in Lagos state. A more disturbing issue is the lack of attention to the promotion of sustainable environmental management especially in disaster prone areas resulting in devastations which could have been averted.