The Nation (Nigeria)

Commuters groan as two-day downpour disrupts Lagos traffic

•Recount stories of hours spent in gridlock •Igbokwe: We anticipate­d flooding, warned Lagosians

- Emmanuel Oladesu, Deputy Editor and Alao Abiodun

THE skies opened up in fury for the second day running yesterday in Lagos and parts of Ogun State, leaving the roads and some buildings flooded.

Motorists and commuters groaned after they were stranded in traffic for hours.

But the Lagos State Government assured residents that the situation was under control.

It said efforts would be intensifie­d to clear the drains at all time and ensure compliance with guidelines on refuse disposal.

Similar flooding experience has devastated Europe, claiming at least 125 lives, many of them in Germany.

The Lagos rain started at about 12 noon yesterday and pounded the metropolis for about three hours.

Most hit by the flooding in Lagos were Marina, Mushin, Oshodi, Ladipo/pwd, Agege, Gbagada, Iyana-ipaja and Mile 2.

Ikeja, including Awolowo Way, Oba Akran and Ikejaalong on the Lagos-abeokuta Expressway were not spared.

It was particular­ly bad at Marina where the several car parks there and the vehicles parked therein were submerged.

One motorist was heard lamenting that he would not be able to drive home last night.

Commercial motorists hiked their fares which some commuters found unaffordab­le.

Such commuters opted to trek long distances.

Many heavy-duty articulate­d vehicles, convoys and security vans were also trapped in the gridlock.

The flood swept the debris on its path, blocking some drains and drainage channels.

Some residents were seen evacuating water from their houses while others attempted to clear narrow water channels and unpaved drainages around their neighbourh­oods.

Social media users shared videos of the havoc caused by the flooding on Facebook and Instagram.

A banker, Kemisola, who works on the Island but lives in Iyana-ipaja, said she spent long hours in traffic.

Also, Adebayo, another Lagosian who lives in Ajah noted that the rain made it hard for commuters to get transport to their various destinatio­ns as there were fewer buses with inflated fares on the road.

LASG: We anticipate­d flooding, warns Lagosians to follow guidelines on refuse disposal

Responding to the flooding yesterday, the Lagos State Government said the situation was under control.

It urged residents to remain calm and said efforts would be intensifie­d to clear the drains at all time and ensure compliance with guidelines on refuse disposal.

Lagos State Special Adviser on Drainage Management, Comrade Joe Igbokwe, lamented that residents often violated the guidelines, unmindful of the consequenc­es.

He recalled that the Ministry of Environmen­t had alerted Lagosians to the imminence of rains and flooding ahead of the raining season.

Igbokwe said flooding is a global phenomenon during this raining reason, pointing out that Western countries, including Great Britain and Belgium, are not insulated from flooding.

The special adviser, who spoke on the phone, allayed the fears of Lagosians about its likely effects, stressing that the waters would dry off before sunrise today.

He said: "It rained cat and dog today in Lagos and beyond. We expected the 'flash flood' for three hours due to the downpour.

"Some countries in Europe, for example, England and Belgium, were also affected. We have been clearing the drains. It is a continuous work in this raining season. We clear them as they are filled.

"You will see our men in yellow uniform, people from our 'Emergency Flood Abetment Gang,' working to free the tertiary drains. We dredge the canals always."

Igbokwe frowned at the habit of indiscrimi­nate refuse dumping by many Lagosians, saying they are compoundin­g the challenge of drainage maintenanc­e.

He said while local councils have virtually abandoned the prime duty of clearing the tertiary drains and canals, many people block the channels with refuse.

Igbokwe said: "People still fill the drainage with refuse. They have the bad habit of blocking them with refuse. It is unbearable.

"Local government­s that are supposed to take charge of tertiary drains in front of our houses are not doing it. It impacts on the secondary and primary drains. Local government is neglecting this duty.

"People are building on channels, very close to canals. Our bulldozers cannot even access the canals sometimes.

"At Ojota Bridge, for example, people sell on top of the canal. They don't allow water to flow. They block the drainage. We will either remove them from the place and enforce compliance with environmen­tal laws.

"We are working. We are not relenting. Lagos is a coastal state. I appeal to

Lagosians not to worry. The flood will disappear in few hours."

NEMA to Lagosians: Observe safety precaution­s

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) urged residents of Lagos State to observe safety precaution­s during downpours.

Acting Assistant Zonal Coordinato­r, NEMA Southwest Zonal Office, Ibrahim Farinloye, said in a statement that "once the rainwater gets to half of the wheels, it sweeps off your vehicle. Kindly park and move on to higher ground for safety.

"The rainwater must have risen above our ankles, once it happens like this, the flood has the capacity to carry you off."

The NEMA boss warned people living in buildings with signs of danger to report to the appropriat­e agencies for assistance.

"Residents of Lagos Island, Eti-osa, Alimosho, Amuwo Odofin, Ikeja, Ojo, Kosofe, Apapa, Epe, Oshodi-isolo, Shomolu, Surulere and Ajeromi /Ifelodun LGAS are advised to be more careful when it rains."

More than 125 people dead after devastatin­g German floods

More than 125 people have died in Germany and Belgium amid a rare flood event that has devastated the region.

At least 63 people have died in the German state of Rhineland-palatinate, including 12 residents at an assisted living facility for people with disabiliti­es.

State officials in North Rhine-westphalia put the death toll at 43, but warned that figure could rise.

Authoritie­s are trying to account for hundreds of people who have been listed as missing. The number may be inaccurate due to duplicatio­n of data and difficulti­es reaching people as roads remain disrupted and phone connection­s are down.

Thousands of people remain homeless after their houses were destroyed by the flooding or deemed at-risk by authoritie­s.

Some 15,000 police, soldiers and emergency service workers have been deployed in Germany to help with the search and rescue.

The soldiers used tanks to clear roads of landslides and fallen trees, while helicopter­s helped winch people to safety.

German President Frankwalte­r Steinmeier said he was stunned by the devastatio­n caused by the flooding and pledged support to the families of those killed and to cities and towns facing significan­t damage.

In the hour of need, our country stands together, Steinmeier said in a statement. It s important that we show solidarity for those from whom the flood has taken everything.

"Whole places are scarred by the disaster.

"Many people have lost what they have built all their lives."

The flash floods followed days of heavy rainfall, which caused rivers and reservoirs to burst through their banks.

The rainfall amounts had around a 1% chance of occurring in an individual year, making it a 100-year rainstorm.

 ??  ?? •Flooded Marina car park after the heavy rainfall in Lagos yesterday.
•Flooded Marina car park after the heavy rainfall in Lagos yesterday.

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