NUISANCE FLOODS

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AT this time of the year reports of flooding become a common feature and the unfortunate part is that people have got used to living with this.

Floods are   bothersome, tangling public transportation and causing other daily hassles.

They also tend to put enormous pressure on government and communities to start building new infrastructure in the nuisance flood zones.

Bridges and roads alike become casualties of floods, cutting areas from each with serious social and economic consequences.

During these flood events, many roads throughout Zambia are often impassable or difficult to pass, thus impacting negatively routine transport needs.

There have been reports of coffins being washed out from graves in nearby local cemeteries due to flooding. That is not funny.

In fact international weather experts have predicted that flooding not only in Zambia but in many African countries is expected to increase dramatically in the coming decades.

Given the global perception that the severity and frequency of floods has increased in recent years, Zambia has probably yet to see the w0rst.

The causes of floods are many and they include the much talked about climate change, over which Zambia has little or no control.

But on the part of government it may be time to look into land management practices, urbanization, deforestation, river training and embankment to minimize their effects.

There is need also to come up and keep long‐term runoff records on floods, which should be both, reliable and reasonably representative of natural conditions.

Such kept data should be able to provide relevant information for detecting climatic conditions to know areas and amount of flooding expected.

This is important for both social and economic impact as washed away bridges mean people and goods cannot be moved to market places.

Washed away crop fields due to flooding means poor harvests resulting in hunger and failure by farmers to remain in business.

But to fold arms and wait for the worst is not how to go about the problems of floods.

Government should put together a team of experts to study these international reports warning of increased flooding in the coming years and work out sound responses to minimize their effects.

This should happen now instead of waiting to be taken by surprise by nuisance floods every year. Time to fight floods is now.

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