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Awareness of and Responses to the 2011 Flood Warnings Among Vulnerable Communities in Lagos, Nigeria

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Abstract

This study was prompted by the flood warnings that the Lagos State government issued in early 2011 on the basis of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency’s forecasts to residents of the densely populated and flood-prone areas in the city’s northern parts weeks before the predicted flood peak. The study, conducted between April and May 2011, examines the awareness of and responses to the flood warnings, as well as the physical vulnerabilities of the affected communities. The primary data for the study was obtained from structured survey questionnaires administered to 200 residents in five communities. Findings revealed that although more than two-thirds of the total respondents were aware of the flood warnings, they took no tangible actions to protect themselves or reduce the impacts of the impending flooding. Specifically, government appeals to people to relocate were ignored by more than 90 % of the respondents, with poor financial conditions cited as the primary reason. The study recommends that both modern and traditional means of communication should be used to ensure that early warnings of impending disaster events reach people living in vulnerable areas of the city on time and are delivered comprehensibly. Also, more instruments – including financial assistance – are needed to encourage people to move away from these vulnerable areas, while the government should build well-equipped and healthy resettlement centers during flood emergencies.

Keywords

  • Flooding
  • Disaster
  • Vulnerability
  • Warning
  • Communities
  • Lagos

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In hydrology, the runoff depth is determined by dividing the catchment’s runoff volume by the catchment area. It provides a convenient way to compare runoff with precipitation in a given area and is usually expressed in depth units per unit time, usually as mm per hour (mm/h).

  2. 2.

    During the study period, the currency exchange rate was USD 1 to NGN 155.

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Acknowledgement

We thank our home institution, the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Ibadan, for financial support to carry out this research at very short notice. NISER is Nigeria’s premier policy think tank and a member of the Think Tank Initiative (TTI). TTI is funded by the International Development Research Council (IDRC), Canada. The views expressed are entirely those of the authors.

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Correspondence to F. Olokesusi .

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Olokesusi, F., Olorunfemi, F.B., Onwuemele, A., Oke, M.O. (2015). Awareness of and Responses to the 2011 Flood Warnings Among Vulnerable Communities in Lagos, Nigeria. In: Werlen, B. (eds) Global Sustainability. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16477-9_11

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