Floods: Preventing The Disaster!

The season has come again with its river of tears and the spate of mourning over material and human losses. It is the season of landslides and floods. Be it in Buea, Douala, Limbe and elsewhere in Cameroon, the news in the air is worrisome.
Landslides and flooding are closely associated and drawing their origin from intense rainfall, runoff and ground saturation. Debris flow causes flooding, blocks valleys and stream channels, and generates amounts of water as backup potentially overflows dangerously. Geographers know and predict that it will continue to happen every other season. Yet, experts say something can still be done to plausibly jugulate such disasters. 
What adds to the nasty situation here is that people, by human intelligence and intuition, can know and pinpoint too well such areas of risks. Yet, they succumb to consequences as damaging as taking one’s life. Such consequences of flooding and landslide include deaths, injuries, homelessness, as well as destruction of buildings, roads, and crops. The most frequent disasters in Cameroon consist of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, landslides and toxic gas emissions. Those are associated with the Cameroon volcanic line straddling the Gulf of Guinea over some 1,600 km across the country. Such can take the form of natural disaster, which by definition is an unforeseen occurrence or event that causes harm to society. Otherwise defined by civic protection experts, a natural disaster is a catastrophic event that results from any of the earth’s natural phenomena. 
Inasmuch as floods remain natural disasters like others, it goes without saying that they do not surprise people at least.  Common knowledge teaches that floods occur when rain falls heavily on level lands with poor drainage systems. Geographers teach that if unstable slopes cannot be avoided, then engineered solutions exist to include improving drainage, reducing slope angle, excavating to unload slope tops and building protective berm or wall to buttress the slope bottom. These ideas are well known to local authorities who have the powers and the means to exert control over settlement in villages, towns and cities.      
Natural disasters and other catastrophes can have devastating consequences for both human lives, infrastructure and the environment. The frequency and intensity of these dangerous events have increased in recent years due to various factors like climate change and human activities. To mitigate the impact of disasters, it is crucial to focus on prevention with early warning systems, effective management strategies, and the support of victims. It is more gainful to explore prevention in the face of disasters.
Preventing disasters is the most effective approach to minimize their adverse effects on human lives and properties. Environmental connoisseurs explain prevention strategies as involving a combination of measures that address both natural and human-induced causes. For instance, reforestation and afforestation programmes help to stabilise slopes and reduce the risk of landslides. Proper land-use planning, zoning regulations, and building codes can minimise vulnerability to floods and other disasters. Additionally, comprehensive risk assessments and hazard mapping greatly facilitate informed decisions. Early warning signal systems and accurate information are decisive in disaster management.
Truly, such science-based systems involve advanced technologies like remote sensing, meteorological monitoring, and geospatial data analysis. By continuously monitoring weather patterns, water levels, and ground conditions, authorities can provide timely warnings to vulnerable communities. Public awareness campaigns and education on disaster alertness are equally important to ensure that people understand the risks and seek to respond timely and suitably. In a recent high-level meeting held at the South West Regional Governor’s office, local authorities expressed the need to closely study and monitor Mount Cameroon to pre-empt any future vomiting of magma. They derived their fear from the observable change of climate occasioning unusual water rushes from the mountain these days. The central question was: “When it happens what can be done to save live”?
For sure, even with preventive measures, disasters may still befall communities. Therefore, it is essential to have effective management strategies in place to respond swiftly and efficiently. Disaster management requires fore...



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