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Floods everywhere… the future’s here

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SOME parts of the country was ravaged by flood in 2012. Government of Nigeria and Anambra State did all they could to contain the flood until it subsided.

This year, the flood came, the result is having displaced people in IDP camps across the country. Anambra State Government, under the watch of Chief Willie Obiano is highly commended for being pro-active in providing shelter, food and health care service to the IDP camps. This is a march in the right direction.

In a book, ‘Sociology, the Study of Human Relationships’, third edition, authored by W. La Verne Thomas and Robert J. Anderson, commenting on ‘The Future’, they insightfully noted, “When you hear the word “Future” what thoughts come to mind? Do you think about the problems of pollution, energy, inflation and population pressures and wondering if the world will really fit to live in 20 years from now or do you think about science-fiction movies you’ve seen, and wonder if people will be travelling from planet in rocketship, as predicted? What changes will occur in future? What new problems do we face?” Asked the authors.

This is the second time Nigeria is experiencing this magnitude of flood disaster. How are you preparing for the future? The authors caught the vision and said “it is good to prepare for the future because each of us has the future to look forward to .We should prepare for it as much as possible.

In this connection, Dr D.G. Shown, writing on forecasting and the importance of Futurology in a book: Philosophy and Dimensions of National Communication Policy (vol2), produced by Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization, informed that “forecasting can be linked to a process whereby man tries to answer the question, “what does the future hold?”.

This question, according to him, is a critical one as it relates to the role man can play in shaping his future. To him, forecasting is futurology and futurology is based on a series of questionnaires. Despite this, the question of the future remains of serious concern to government and scientists, as well as the whole society”.

The learned scholar pointed out that “the future hold for man either the portends of doom or progress, it can lead to utopia or oblivion. Hence, an accurate prediction of the future should only result from a careful analysis of past. To the question, however, is gazing into the next ten years, which of the two is most likely – utopia or oblivion? Projections therefore can only be based on supportive evidence. In this way, grave changes associated with futurology maybe avoided or minimized.

The writer informed that, “in a country like Nigeria where much of the national effort has been based on a series of five-year development plans, the tendency has been that cherished “dreams” have become quite unlikely with mixed emotions heralding the end of each epochal future”.

In a book titled: Primary Health Care 67305, Faculty of Sciences, Department of Nursing, the University of Southern Queens Land, Selected Readings, Australia, defined environment in two key terms. First “is the world environment. Environment is defined as all that affect an organism during its lifetime”.

According to the publication, environmental health refers to “the characteristics of environmental conditions that affect the health and well-being of humans”. It is part of the larger concept of public health. There is no doubt that the present government in Anambra, under the watch of Chief Willie Obiano, is working to provide adequate health care to the displaced persons in the IDP camps throughout the state.

One important fact that we should bear in mind is that after the flood is over, the next is that hazards in the environment could produce ill-health and therefore, should be noted in the state’s Ministry of Health pro-active measures in enhancing adequate health for all the displaced persons in the IDPs and their environs. his is very important.

The same publication of Southern Queensland publication in a topic: Biological Hazards and Human Health revealed that “biologically, the environment is hazardous place. Life and death struggles between species for food, water and shelter persist every hour and minute of every day. For each living predators, parasites and disease agents, which can be considered biological hazards. Communities are just as much at risk as are individuals”.

In sanitizing the communities affected by flood, the publication insightfully revealed that “biological hazards are living organisms (and viruses or their products that are harmful to humans. These may be animals for plants (such as poison, ivy or poison oak), but are usually viruses or microbes such as bacteria.

In order to clean up the affected communities ravaged by the recent flood, efforts should be intensified to checkmate biological hazards – living organisms (and viruses) or their products that are harmful to humans.

There shall be thorough environmental sanitation, the practice of affecting healthy or hygienic condition in the environment.
If the need should arise, subject to availability of resources, which good spirited individuals can afford to help the flood disaster victims – services of sanitary engineers should be acquired. Research revealed that they are environmental worker responsible for management waste and solid waste for community.

Water-borne diseases that are transmitted via fecal contamination of water during this flood menace should be taken into account, including food-borne diseases – diseases that are transmitted via contaminated food and vector-borne diseases that are transmitted by insects.

Writing on natural disasters – The University of Southern Queensland publication revealed that, natural disasters include those geophysical and meteorological events (disaster agents) that greatly exceed normal human expectations in terms of magnitude or frequency and which cause significant damage to individuals and for their property such as cyclones, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons and volcanic eruptions.

Furthermore, human health is affected by natural disaster even prior to their occurrence because of impending damages. The publication revealed that “prior to the event, some disaster agents can be tracked or predicted (e.g. hurricane, typhoons, floods, and volcanic eruptions”.

Just like in our case in Nigeria, where flood ravaged some states of the federation, the same publication informed that “with such knowledge, oftentimes comes psychological stress of an impending disaster. Such stress can cause serious health problems in those who are unable to control their reaction to the situation. During the event, health can again be affected because of the physical damage causing both injury and mortality casualties.

The seriousness of disasters seems to be directly related to the vulnerability of the people affected. The more vulnerable a group of people to a disaster, the more serious the outcomes. Mizutani and Nakano (1989) on the impact of Natural disasters on population of Japan have identified several factors that greatly affect human casualties from a natural disaster. These factors included, the general preparedness for the event of previous disaster experience, time of day the disaster occurs, human behavior at the time of impact, and the locality of event.

Therefore, the University of Southern Queensland, Australia insightfully noted that “key to recover from any natural disaster lies with the ability of a community to mobilize to meet the needs of the people. In the United States, the publication informed – the American Red cross has taken on the role of organizing such efforts.

While, it is important to note that an accurate prediction of the future should only result from a carefully analysis of the past, Dr. D.G Shown, in his thought provocating presentation titled: constructing a scenario, informed that “according to Bertrand de Jouvenel “the basic aim of Futurology is to ascertain the Futuribles” it is therefore to chart a graph of human possibilities if a bottom line representing the unchangeable and an upper line representing the ‘unachievables’ can be determined”.

To him, in this realm, the possible, the probable, the predictable can be objectively worked out. The hazardous problems and difficulties of making any scenario must be appreciated. It is impossible, for example, to verify any future in the present. The future can be quite elusive, even when it is qualified with objectifiable predictions, however, we can begin by comparing the past with the present vision of future, “Dr. DG Shown, informed.

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