Using technology to predict and alleviate the effect of floods in Nigeria

by | Sep 21, 2017

Two weeks after the deadly floods that ravaged Benue State and environs, the number of displaced people is still on the rise. According to Premium Times, an estimated 110,000 people were displaced by the floods. Relief materials have poured in since the floods abated.

But maybe there is one or two –or three– ways we can use tech to help.

Smart collation for relief resources

Vanguard Nigeria reports that Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote led a committee that donated ₦250 million to the displaced victims.

In the same vein, Nigerian-Ghanaian rapper and singer Mr. Eazi reportedly pledged to donate 10% of proceeds from his ‘Life is Eazi Culture’ festival in London to victims of the Benue flood.

Advertisement

However, two weeks before these popular figures lent a helping hand, social media has been awash with calls for donations on different fronts for displaced people. It is difficult not to wonder about accountability for these donations. Because obviously, mischievous and dishonest people will use this medium to con people.

It is not clear who started it, but a Google Document and Slack Channel were created in Texas to help displaced people after the hurricane. It was meant to account for resources. This can be done and every resource put on it for easy tracking and accountability.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding on social media is and has always been a means Nigerians have used over the years to raise money for different cause. But techies can always find a more efficient way to make it work better.

Earlier this year, CEO of Anakle, Editi Effiong raised ₦6.5million through the chain reactions off a blog post and a series of follow up tweets.The money was to build a house for a poor family in Akwa Ibom State and give them a fresh start. As unbelievable as it sounds, he documented his experience and proved it can still be done.

Paystack and LifeBank have both taken a bold first step together by automating the process of sourcing funds to donate Care Boxes to those affected by the floods. These Care Boxes contain critical food and health essentials such as soap, blankets, and more.

Technology offers endless possibilities, and this case is no different. Techies, tech companies and everybody else should support them [Paystack] or take another step.

Build “The App”

In February this year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reportedly partnered with MTN, Microsoft to release IWMI, an app that is supposed to predict floods. Guess what, the app didn’t and doesn’t still work.

There could be many reasons the app does not work, but none is our business right now. Since this is a matter of life and death, a software developer or company should undertake to build this app. Let me tell you why.

Advertisement

The 2012 floods in Nigeria were the deadliest in a 40-year period. After this horrible episode, Nigerians hoped and prayed the floods do not come back.

This app is supposed to warn against a recurrence, but it cannot do any warning in its present state.

Graphic Visualization For An Article

Casualties of the 2012 floods in Nigeria, explained in a picture

A few days before the flood, Nigerian Meteorological Agency reportedly warned Benue State authorities, but nothing happened.

Even if everyone in Benue State will not get the app, most people will. For the second quarter of 2017, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) ranked Benue State 12th on states with highest number of internet users. With 2.3 million people– 2.54% of total population– connected, a sizeable number of people will see it.

In its Annual Flood Outlook (AFO), the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) says 314 of the country’s 774 local government areas are prone to flood this year, incase you are thinking “it’s just Benue”.

Victor Ekwealor
Victor Ekwealor

tech. media. startups. africa. vc | Twitter: @victor_ekwealor

On January 22, 2022, be part of the largest gathering of innovators, startup founders, thinkers, programmers, policymakers, and investors in West Africa. Register free.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Adetona Adewale
Adetona Adewale
4 years ago

nice write-up

Recent News

Subscribe to Techpoint Digest!

A daily 5-minute roundup of happenings in African and global tech, sent directly to your email inbox, between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m (WAT) every week day!

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to Crypto Explorer

A monthly series featuring in-depth analysis on the cryptocurrency sector in Africa

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to The Experts

A bi-weekly where tech career specialists take us on their journey from newbie to expert, and how they became successful in the industry.

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to Founder's Table

A monthly series, where we catch up with founders in the startup ecosystem, learn about their failures, successes and a few tricks of the trade

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap