Impact of Flooding on Riverine Communities: The Experience of The Omambala and Other Areas in Anambra State, Nigeria

Kingsley Efobi, Christopher Anierobi


Globally, riverine areas are naturally prone to flooding. In the year 2012, flooding for the first time became a national disaster in Nigeria and Anambra state was identified as one of the most affected states. 7 million people were affected; 2.3 million people were victims of internal displacement while 363 people were reportedly killed. Out of the 21 Local government areas in Anambra state, 8 were affected. 5 out of these 8 comprise the Omambala area and were the most adversely affected area. Records revealed that house and other public and private properties, infrastructure and facilities worth billions of naira were fully or partly submerged and destroyed. Government in her intervention effort in the state provided 24- Internally Displaced People’s refugee camps and supplied relief materials. International donor agencies like UNICEF, UN and EU as well as non governmental organizations and philanthropists, also supported with relief materials worth billions of naira. Till date, the living conditions of the dwellers remain deplorable. This study sought to examine the impact of flooding on the Omambala and other riverine areas with a view to determining its nature so as to evolve measures that can enhance the living condition of the people.  Primary data obtained with structured interview and secondary data from State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) were used. Taro Yamane (1967) formula was used to derived a sample size of 400 household heads was selected using the systematic sampling technique. Data was analyzed and the result revealed that flooding greatly impacted the economic life of the people; their social, cultural and the religious aspects of their lives. There were issues of lose of human and animal lives; destruction of agricultural products; housing, educational, transportation commercial and other infrastructural facilities worth billions of naira. Family and social ties and activities were also hampered while daily livelihood activities were disrupted, good sources of water were polluted and the environment degraded. Hunger, high cost of living, infestation of snakes, flies and other disease vectors and general deplorable living conditions were identified as some of the negative impacts of flooding in the area. Economic empowerments of poor riverine dwellers through cooperative societies coupled with Public participation in flood control activities among other mitigation measures were recommended.

Keywords: Impact, Flooding, Riverine communities, Omambala and other riverine areas.

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