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Climate change and human factors

Nigeria
The Leadership
26/10/2010

Researchers point to global warming, dams, deforestation and slash and burn farming as some of the exacerbating factors in the natural disasters that have plagued that region.

Another factor is population density in high risk areas and the materials used in buildings and the structural quality.

The adage that “Earthquakes don’t kill people; buildings do,” is often the case as most people are too poor to build earthquake resistant structure. This was the case in the recent Haiti’s earthquakes and aftershock that claimed over 200,000 lives and rendered over a million people homeless.

In the early 80’s, Nigerians were petrified when a mild tremor rocked Ibadan, Ijebu-Ode and Shagamu, three cities in the country’s South West. No casualties were recorded in the incident, neither were any buildings felled.

In 2009, Researchers at the National Space Research and Development Agency (NARSDA) officially warned about the possibility of an earthquake disaster in Nigeria’s South Western region.

They made reference to a tremor that rocked the region in September 11, 2009, stressing that Nigeria is no longer immune from earthquakes.

Researchers have said before that Nigeria is outside the seismic region, that is to say it is safe.” In the last two to three years, with what we gathered from the Centre of Geodesy and Dynamic (CCG), some parts of Nigeria, especially the South West, are not safe”, said a geologist.

He specifically stressed the urgent need for the country to be prepared and “get ready to invest in disaster monitoring equipment that will help in mitigating such disasters.”

With recurrence of earthquakes around the world, it is expected that countries, especially the most vulnerable, should be well prepared to lessen the consequence. But most African countries, including Nigeria, lack the financial muscle to adapt to climate change, which has to an extent been linked to natural and tropical disasters.

Haiti, for example, was known to stand the risk of a major earthquake due to the build-up of stress along the fault line upon which Port-au-Prince sits. Haitian officials were also aware of the city’s risk; yet they did little to address its vulnerabilities.

Haiti’s tragedy is a lesson for Nigeria. A disaster that strikes an unprepared country can set it years back.

Nigeria is not the only African country sitting on a keg of gunpowder as Ghana and Some experts have argued that Africa is less prone to earthquakes but can experience some tremor as the continent is not within the active zones when juxtaposed with past and present incidents.

Other analysts are insisting that such arguments hold little water.

Ghana is said to be far from major earthquake zones of the world but it still remains earthquake-prone.

Reports by Ekua Amponsah of the Geological Survey Department in Accra, Ghana indicate that the country’s records of damaging quakes dates back to 1615, with others happening between 1862, 1906 and 1939.

Malawi, a country in South-Eastern Africa has also had its own share of earthquakes. On March 10, 1989, the Salima-Dedza-Mchinji area of the country was hit by a magnitude 6.6 earthquake. Mozambique and parts of Zambia, at the moment, are the countries still recovering from the throes of another tremor that rocked its provinces last year December. Despite being warned about the country’s earthquake vulnerability, as it lies in the East African Rift Valley, a valley caused by earth movements and as such, prone to earthquakes, Malawi was still overwhelmed by humanitarian crises caused by the disaster.

Scientists have specifically cautioned African countries against indiscriminate digging of the soil for deep wells, and indiscriminate mining and drilling activities, stressing that though the continent is not really within the earthquake zone, it was more prone to earth tremors. The question that arises is Nigeria, a country highly dependent on oil, heeding this warning? Volcanoes, according to scientists, have played a long and constructive role in earth’s history. As much as 90 per cent of all continents and ocean basins are the product of volcanism. Fortunately, volcanoes often give advance warning of an eruption.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.

    

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