Pre-emptive Responsibility

If nature cannot adapt to the whims and caprices of man, then it is left for man to readjust to the exigencies of nature. This is one of the main challenges environmentalists have not stopped reminding the population about. The inhabitants of some major cities and towns in Cameroon are surely experiencing the consequences of such failure to adapt to nature’s intrinsic values. Climatic variations coupled with this year’s rainy season have been dealing a big blow on the population of the Littoral region in particular with floods recorded here and there. Several neighbourhoods witnessed overflow of rainwater following hours of torrential rain. The consequences have been quite disastrous. Hundreds of homes flooded, and roads swamped, causing massive traffic disruption. Media reports talked of at least three people killed after the rain caused a building to collapse in the PK13 neighbourhood. Douala recorded 186 mm of rain in 24 hours to 12 August. The high volume of rain overwhelmed the inadequate drainage system in the city. In the rural areas, cocoa farms especially those with new plants are reported to have been destroyed as growers go gnashing their teeth.
The situation was no better in the Far North Region last July when heavy rainfall caused rivers to overflow affecting over 5,000 people. The inhabitants of Maroua have a story to tell. Whereas rainfall remains a natural phenomenon and to some extent a natural catastrophe, the gravity of its destructions is incidentally magnified by ensuing human activities. In other words, torrential rainfall can have little or no nefarious effect provided human activities are tailored to attenuate such imminent destructions. What is sure is that the rains must fall at their appointed time and in quantities they desire. It is now left for the population to see how best it can avert the consequences. Unfortunately, many people continue to undertake activities that instead favour such disasters. Houses are intentionally constructed in or near marshy areas before the very eyes of authorities of the city councils. The situation is worse around popular markets where the waste from the market is dumped indiscriminately into gutters and on riverbeds ending up as serious blockages for rainwater. 
Now that the population and the other stakeholders have fallen headlong into the trap of fostering flood, what then can be the real solution. This is surely the question that comes to mind whenever it occurs. Experts have been making proposals to that effect. Some of these include introducing better flood warning systems, modifying homes and businesses to help them withstand floods, focusing on flood resilience rather than defence schemes, constructing buildings above flood levels, tackling climate change, increasing spending on flood defences, protecting wetlands and introducing plant trees strategically, restoring rivers to their natural courses as in the case of the Mfoundi River in Yaounde and putting up more flood barriers. Some of these measures are curative while some are pre-emptive.
 

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