This city of 24 million people may soon become uninhabitable
Cars and homes are under water, commuters are cruising on buses with water up to their knees, and homeowners are assessing damage from recent floods. Welcome to Lagos during the rainy season.
Lagos is a low-lying city located on the Atlantic coast of Nigeria. More than 24 million residents may have to flee the waters by the end of the century. Sea-level rise threatens to make Africa’s largest city uninhabitable. The problem has been exacerbated by poor maintenance of drainage systems and uncontrolled urban growth, according to a study by the Institute of Development Studies.
Lagos is built partly on the mainland and partly on a chain of islands. It suffers from shoreline erosion that makes the city vulnerable to flooding, which Nigerian ecologist Sifunmi Adepoti says is caused by global warming and “long-term human actions”. “Drilling sand for construction work is a major contributor to coastal erosion.” Some of the river piers have already been swept away.
Learn to live with it
Some studies show that low-lying coastal cities are at risk of permanently disappearing under water by the year 2100. “The Earth is now home to about 300 million people who may experience chronic flooding due to the effects of climate change.” Eventually, the areas can completely disappear underwater.
But so far, floods in Lagos are causing a lot of inconvenience. According to data from NEMA, more than two million people were directly affected by floods in 2020. “Every year we witness floods in Nigeria. It is a problem caused by climate change and we have to learn to live with it,” said Manzo Ezekiel. A spokesperson for the Nigeria Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) told CNN.
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