A climatologist, Dr Ibidun Adelekan, has urged the Federal Government to create an intervention fund for insurance industry to indemnify high risk disasters in the country.
The climatologist told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the intervention fund became imperative to manage the flood challenges in various parts of the country, arising from climate change.
Adelekan is a lecturer in the Department of Geography, University of Ibadan and also the lead researcher of the Lagos Coastal Cities at Risk (CCaR) project.
CCaR is a collaborative project of the International Research Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change (IRIACC).
The project seeks to strengthen the capacity of coastal mega cities to effectively respond to climate change and its impacts.
Adelekan said that there was need for synergy between the government and the insurance industry to build capacity of insurers to indemnify natural disaster categorised as high risk.
She said that efforts to build a sustainable economy could be threatened by a single disaster that could undermine development accomplished over years.
According to her, natural disasters hinder economic development and building resilience to flood risk is integral to sustainable development and food production.
“The rapid growth of cities causes severe social, economic and ecological problems. For coastal mega cities, climate change and sea level rise are additional stressors.
“The problem of flooding in the country is increasingly raising serious concerns among the general public, government and international communities.
“Substantial properties lost to flood are not insured and are owned by middle-class and poor residents, some of whom live in informal settlements.
“Insurance helps people and communities cope with the financial hardship of unexpected losses resulting from severe damage on roads, bridges, houses, offices and other properties.
“Flood insurance is not popular in Nigeria and the government has a role to play by giving flood insurance a level of prominence through intervention for the industry.”
Adelekan stressed the need for effective flood management in the country with emphasis on Lagos, which is a coastal city.
She said that attention should be given to the enforcement of urban planning guidelines, development and building control, social participation of citizens to enable efficient and successful management of flood risk.
NAN recalls that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said the 2012 floods, which ravaged the country cost the government N2.6 trillion.
The flood affected over seven million people, displaced 2.3 million people, killed over 363 persons and destroyed or damaged about 597,476 houses.