Morgan Agidi, 84, stood at the eroded shore of Abari creek, gesturing as he spoke about the havoc flooding has wreaked on the living and the dead in his community.
“Most of our (late) fathers, their bones are now in the river. When they die, we bury them but erosion carries them away into the river,” the octogenarian said.
Abari is one of the communities on the bank of the River Niger in Patani Local Government Area of Delta State. The town is on the verge of becoming a historical reference with the yearly flood gradually washing it into the river.
According to a research paper by Adaku Echendu, the erosion is caused by the Niger Delta coastal flood, which has left no fewer than three million persons displaced.
It is estimated that the town loses about five to six houses and farmlands to the flood annually.
This leaves many in the town and other coastal areas with only the option of relocation from the area or taking temporary accommodation with the few whose structures are yet to be impacted.
A study has shown the havoc that the Niger Delta coastal flood causes annually. Climate change vulnerability is a major issue of urgent policy attention among poor coastal regions.
The Nigerian Environmental Study /Action Team (NEST) reported that sea-level rise and repeated ocean surges will not only worsen the problems of coastal erosion but will increase the problem of floods, the intrusion of seawater into freshwater sources and the ecosystems. These will affect agriculture, fisheries, and general livelihoods.
A prediction in 2007 by the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says rising global temperatures will contribute to an upsurge in several floods, drought, glacier melt, and sea-level rise.
In developing countries, the pressure is expected to intensify especially on land and water resources, disrupt agricultural production and threaten food security.
The treasurer of Abari town, Peremobowei Dakromoh, said erosion is an age-long problem, which he grew up to understand as a norm.