THE IMPACT OF FLOODING ON RURAL COMMUNITIES IN AKWA IBOM STATE
TABLE OF CONTENT
Title page – – – – – – – – – i
Declaration – – – – – – – – – ii
Dedication – – – – – – – – – iii
Acknowledgement – – – – – – – – iv
Abstract – – – – – — – – – – v
Table of content – – – – – – – – vi
1. INTRODUCTION – – – – – – – 1
1. The Study Area – – – – – – – 5
2. Sources of flooding – – – – – – – 9
3. Causes of flooding – – – – – – – 10
4. Factors that Determine the Effects of Flooding – – – 11
5. Types of flooding – – – – – – 12
6. Benefits of flooding – – – – – – – 15
7. The Effects of Flooding – – – – – – 16
1. The impact of Flooding in Rural Communities in Akwa Ibom State 17
1. Social impacts of flooding – – – – – – 21
2. Economic impacts – – – – – – – 22
3. Non-economic losses – – – – – – 23
4. Impacts on physical and psychological health – – – 24
5. Impacts associated with evacuation and temporary accommodation 25
6. Household disruption – – – – – – 26
7. Community and neighbourhood changes – – – 27
2. Methods of Flood Control in Rural communities in Akwa Ibom State – 27
1. Flood warning – – – – – – – 30
3. Preventive and Mitigating Measures Against Flooding – – 31
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
3.1 Conclusion- – – – – – – – – 35
3.2 Recommendation – – – – – – – 36
The increased intensity of farming and development in rural communities in Akwa Ibom State has given rise to land sites that have larger portions of non–permeable surfaces and alteration in the topography of the rural environment. A problem caused by little or no drainage and in some cases overloaded drainage infrastructure. This situation combined with the intense rainfall cause by climatic changes in the rural communities gives rise to flooding in different rural communities in Akwa Ibom State. Flooding being one of the major ways water is introduced into building construction environment and farm land raises the cost of building since it impedes the construction and may eventually cause costly damage to the building and also rendered challenges in agricultural practices since the farmland is covered by flood. This study has identified flood-prone areas in rural communities in Akwa Ibom State and has recommended measures to be taken in order to mitigate its effects on buildings, human, plants and animals.
Flood is the overflow of water into an environment that is normally dry thereby causing inundation and harm to plants and animals, including man. Its harm can be extended to man’s buildings and infrastructures (Udosen, 2011). Most flood definitions include damage they cause and depend on their sources or types and magnitude. In the case of flood resulting from rivers, Ating (2003) defines it as a relatively high flow which overtakes the natural channels provided for run–off as well as a high stream which overtops its natural or artificial banks. Wolf (1965) also describes flood as high rate of discharge in water sources and the inundation of normally dry lands. West (1991) further states that flood is a body of water which rises to overflow its banks or low-lying areas. All over the world, flood is known to cause great damage to people’s lives, belongings and properties. Flood causes one third of deaths, one third of all injuries and one third of all damage from natural disasters (Etuonovbe, 2011). This damage is normally felt by various “receptors” being people, buildings, infrastructure, agriculture, and open recreational spaces. Even social and emotional costs from flooding are significant and are often widespread and indiscriminate in flooded areas. They include: displacement from homes, loss of personal valuables, fear and insecurity caused by such experience. The economy can be serially affected by flooding as businesses may lose patronage, stock, data and productivity. Tourism, farming and livestock can equally be affected. Utilities and transport infrastructure can be rendered inefficient by flood. Portable water supplies may be contaminated in a flood which has immediate health effects upon human beings and animals. Other vital infrastructures may also be damaged just like the loss of electricity experienced in Britain in 2007 summer floods (RIBA, 2009). Even in a developed country such as the United Kingdom, the Association of British Insurers has estimated the cost of the July, 2007 flooding, in insurance claims alone at over 3 billion pounds (RIBA, 2011). The pattern of flooding is similar in all parts of the world. In Nigeria for instance, flooding has forced millions of people out from their homes, destroyed businesses, pollute water sources, and increased the risk of diseases (Baiye, 1988, Akinyemi, 1990, Nwaubani, 1991 and Edward- Adebiyi, 1997).
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 (Thompson, 1964). Flood could be seen as one of the most common natural disasters in the world. Flood is one of natural hazards result from the potential for extreme geographical events, to create an unexpected threat to human life and property (Welch et. al., 1977). 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 rural 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 rural 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 rural areas, because the areas affected are defenseless, lack necessary facilities for control of flooding and may contain vital natural resources such as good farm land, mineral resources, water bodies rich in fishing and other natural ecosystems. 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.
Flood is said to be the most significant effect of climate change on the poor (Idowu, 2011). It is caused from increased precipitation: therefore destroying infrastructure like roads, culverts, drainage systems, houses and water supply which can have knock-on effects on many parts of the study area. Damage to healthcare infrastructure will affect the health of the population and damage to roads can disrupt livelihoods and income.
Localized flooding occurs many times a year in many informal settlements such as those in the rural community in Akwa Ibom State, because there are few or no drains (or those that exist are blocked), most of the ground is highly compacted and pathways between dwellings become streams after heavy rain.
The rural poor in Akwa Ibom State particularly refers to a sub-population characterized by various forms of social deprivation, such feature, include low education, low and unstable income, struggle for survival and a spatial housing location with all the characteristics of slums, shanty towns or squatter settlements as epitomized by the rural communities in Akwa Ibom State. Based on the foregoing, this study is to examine the impact of flooding on rural communities in Akwa Ibom State with the view to evolving a framework for proper mitigation and adaptation.
1.1.1 The Study Area
The Research is on the impact of Flooding on Rural Communities in Akwa Ibom State. Akwa Ibom is a state in Nigeria. It is located in the coastal part of the country, lying between latitudes 4°32′N and 5°33′N, and longitudes 7°25′E and 8°25′E. The state is bordered on the east by Cross River State, on the west by Rivers State and Abia State, and on the south by the Atlantic Ocean and the southernmost tip of Cross River State. Akwa Ibom is one of Nigeria’s 36 states, with a population of over 5 million people and more than 10 million people in diaspora. It was created in 1987 from the former Cross River State and is currently the highest oil- and gas-producing state in the country. The state’s capital is Uyo, with over 500,000 inhabitants. Along with English, the main spoken languages are Ibibio, Annang, Eket and Oron language (Udosen, 2011).
Akwa Ibom State consists of thirty-one (31) local government areas. They are: Abak , Eastern Obolo, Eket, Esit-Eket, Essien Udim, Etim-Ekpo, Etinan, Ibeno, Ibesikpo-Asutan, Ibiono-Ibom, Ika, Ikono, Ikot Abasi, Ikot Ekpene, Ini, Itu, Mbo, Mkpat-Enin, Nsit-Atai, Nsit-Ibom, Nsit-Ubium, Obot-Akara, Okobo, Onna, Oron, Oruk Anam, Ukanafun, Udung-Uko, Uruan, Urue-Offong/Oruko, and Uyo.
Despite the rapid development of Akwa Ibom State, the greater percentage of the state falls into rural communities. The ecological problems cannot be directly linked to population pressure, steep marginal lands around the rural communities in Akwa Ibom State which should otherwise be conserved, are developed due to increased need for sites for housing and other architectural developments apart from cultivation. The consequences of this practice are well known.
Figure 1: Flood affected area at Ukana Ikot Akpan Road in Ikpe Annang, Essien L.G.A
Figure 2: Flood affected area at Ikot Imoh by St. Michael Primary school in Midim clan. Abak L.G.A
Figure 3: Flood affected area @ Ikwen in Obot Akara L.G.A
1.1.2 Sources of Flooding
Generally, there are six recognized sources of flooding namely: tidal flooding, fluvial flooding, ground water, pluvial flooding, flooding from sewers and flooding from man–made infrastructure.
1. Tidal Flooding: Sea and river defenses may be overtopped by a combination of low pressure weather systems and high tides. Its duration is limited by the cycle of the tides where drainage is available.
2. Fluvial Flooding: When rainfall or snow occurs in rivers, the capacity is exceeded and as a result, there is a rising water level which can in turn overflow into the floodplains close to the river.
3. Ground Water: As groundwater levels rise, low lying area sitting over aquifers may flood. This type of flood is mainly seasonal and slow.
4. Pluvial Flood: This refers to surface water from rainwater – run-off mainly from urban or rural land that has low absorbency. As developments increase in rural communities, land surfaces increase in their areas of non-permeable surfaces and combines with intense rainfall, this gives rise to localized flooding.
5. Flooding from Sewers: This occurs where there are faulty sewers or where sewage capacity exceeded normally due to large surface water runoff over a short time.
6. Flooding from Man – made Infrastructure: This occurs when man-made structures like canals and reservoirs fail resulting in flooding areas downstream (RIBA 1999).
1.1.3 Causes of Flooding
One of the main thrust of this study has been to assess the immediate and remote causes of frequent flooding in rural communities in Akwa Ibom State. It was to determine which of these causes may be more responsible for the recent incidences of flooding in rural communities in Akwa Ibom State. To be able to do this successfully, a number of physical flood characteristics were evaluated. These critical physical characteristics include:
a) Depth of water
b) Duration of inundation
c) Area of inundation
d) Velocity of flow
e) Frequency – recurrence relations
f) Flood time (Flood time lapse or flood-to-peak interval)
h) Peak flood
i) Rate of discharge increase and decline.
j) Sediment load and
k) Total flood run-off volume.
Apart from the above identified causes, flooding occurs throughout rural communities in Akwa Ibom State in the following forms:
Natural forms of flooding:
1. Heavy or torrential rains / rainstorm
2. Oceans storms and tidal waves usually along the coast.
3. Coastal flooding
4. River flooding
5. Flash floods
Human forms of flooding:
1. Burst water main pipes
2. Dam burst levee failures
3. Dam spills.
1.1.4 Factors that Determine the Effects of Flooding
1. The level of predictability: This affects the timing, accuracy and communication of warnings given before a flood.
2. The rate of onset of the flood: How quickly the water arrives and the speed at which it rises will govern the opportunity for people to prepare and respond effectively for a flood.
3. The speed and depth of the water: This dictates the level of exposure of people and property to a flood. It is difficult to stand or wade through even relatively shallow water that is moving. Flood water often carries debris, including trees and water over 1m in depth can carry objects of the size of cars. Fast flowing water can apply devastating force to property and other receptors.
4. The duration of the flood: This is another important factor in determining the extent of its impact, particularly on individuals and affected communities.
1.1.5 Types of Flooding:
1. Tidal Flooding: Both sea and river defenses may be overtopped or breached by a combination of low pressure weather systems and peak high tides. Storms with high wind speeds cause tall and powerful waves and low pressure fronts cause sea levels to rise above normal levels. High tide levels vary through the lunar and solar cycle and when superimposed upon other tidal variations exceptionally high tides result. The onset of flooding from the sea and tidal rivers is often sudden and the extreme forces driving it present a significant danger to life. The east coast storm surge of 1953 claimed 307 people’s lives in the UK and 1,835 in Holland. A similar storm surge tide in September 2007came within a few centimeters of breaching a number of the UK’s coastal defenses. It is often possible to forecast, with reasonable accuracy, this type of flooding due to the predictability of the tide and track ability of low pressure systems. The duration of this type of flooding is also limited by the cycle of the tides where drainage is available (Dance and Hynes, 1980).
2. Fluvial Flooding: Flooding occurs in the floodplains of rivers when the capacity of water courses is exceeded as a result of rainfall or snow and ice melts within catchment areas further upstream. Blockages of watercourses and flood channels or tide locking may also lead to ponging and rising water levels. River defenses may then be overtopped due to increased water levels, or breached by large objects of debris carried at high water velocities. Flooding from rivers has in recent years been experienced in the Severn Valley, in Sheffield, in Hull from the river Humber in 2007 and Carlisle on the river Eden in 2006. The onset can be quite slow in some catchments with steadily rising water levels.
3. Flash Flooding: Flash flooding can occur in steep catchments and is far more immediate. Flooding from rivers, particularly, in recognized floodplains, can usually be predicted with good accuracy. However flashfloods from sudden downpours such as those in Carlisle continue to challenge the capability of detection and forecasting systems. Water over about 250 mm in depth may carry debris particularly in rural locations and can also be very cold. Even travelling at low speeds this can make it extremely hazardous to people caught in it.
4. Ground Water flooding: Low lying areas sitting over aquifers may periodically flood as ground water levels rise. This type of flooding is often seasonal and therefore can before casted with good accuracy. It is often slow in its onset.
5. Pluvial Flooding: Surface water flooding is caused by rainwater run-off from urban and rural land with low absorbency. Increased intensity of development in urban areas has given rise to land with a larger proportion of non-permeable surfaces, a problem often exacerbated by overloaded and out-dated drainage infrastructure. These circumstances, combined with intense rainfall, can give rise to localized flooding. This sort of flooding often occurs outside of recognized floodplains and because it is caused by quite localized weather conditions it is very difficult to forecast. Its onset can also be very rapid and the level of flooding very severe. In the summer of 2007 much of the flooding experienced in Gloucestershire and Yorkshire was not directly caused by rivers but by surface water (Henry, 2006).Large volumes of rainfall early in the year saturated the ground and intense rainfall later caused both urban and rural areas to flood.
6. Flooding from Sewers: Flooding from sewers can occur where there are combined storm and foul sewer sand their capacity is exceeded due to large amounts of surface water run-off in a short time. Poor cleaning and maintenance can lead to blockages that can also cause local flooding. This type of flooding is hard to predict, has significant sanitary consequences for those affected and can occur very rapidly.
7. Flooding from man-made infrastructure: Canals, reservoirs and other manmade structures can fail causing flooding to areas downstream. Industrial activities, water mains and pumping stations can also give rise to flooding due to failure.
1.1.6 Benefits of Flooding
There are many disruptive effects of flooding on human settlements and economic activities. However, floods (in particular the more frequent/smaller floods) can also bring many benefits, such as recharging ground water, making soil more fertile and providing nutrients in which it is deficient. Flood waters provide much needed water resources in particular in arid and semi-arid regions where precipitation events can be very unevenly distributed throughout the year. Freshwater floods particularly play an important role in maintaining ecosystems in river corridors and are a key factor in maintaining floodplain biodiversity. Flooding adds a lot of nutrients to lakes and rivers which leads to improved fisheries for a few years, also because of the suitability of a floodplain for spawning (little predation and a lot of nutrients). Fish like the weather fish make use of floods to reach new habitats. Together with fish also birds profit from the boost in production caused by flooding.
Periodic flooding was essential to the well-being of ancient communities along the Tigris-Euphrates Rivers, the Nile River, the Indus River, the Ganges and the Yellow River, among others (Ikomi et. al 2005). The viability for hydrological based renewable sources of energy is higher in flood prone regions.
THE IMPACT OF FLOODING ON RURAL COMMUNITIES IN AKWA IBOM STATE