Lagos suffers worst flooding in years as rising sea levels, storm surge push water levels over average

[van id=”world/2017/02/22/lagos-island-sea-level-rise-solidarity-calls-climate-affairs-agency-dept.cnn”] Lagos, Nigeria — The Lagos district of Badagry Island has never seen a storm like the one it’s having right now. Devastating sea-level rise and rainfall that has averaged 260 percent above…

Lagos suffers worst flooding in years as rising sea levels, storm surge push water levels over average

[van id=”world/2017/02/22/lagos-island-sea-level-rise-solidarity-calls-climate-affairs-agency-dept.cnn”]

Lagos, Nigeria — The Lagos district of Badagry Island has never seen a storm like the one it’s having right now.

Devastating sea-level rise and rainfall that has averaged 260 percent above normal over the past week caused 16 inches of water to flood the district, a shocking amount in any neighborhood.

The rising tide has raised the water level on the Island more than two feet above its historical average, largely due to an inland aquifer over which the sea is steadily sinking, The Guardian reported.

Lagos, one of the largest cities in West Africa, sits at the heart of the African continent.

It’s an almost perfect microcosm of global warming.

Surfers have been turning out in force in the city, where the death toll has risen to 53, CNN reported.

Many are weary, but determined to face the grim reality of climate change.

Some of the worst flooding in Badagry’s history has been brought on by “lack of periodic and periodic water releases through the Ojo-Oba channel,” Lagos State Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Kunle Amineh told CNN.

He said the high water level is down to “very large volume of rainfall. It’s no different to a grand total of eight successive seasons with the highest concentration of rainfall in this little bit of history of rainfall, the past 10 months,” according to the BBC.

But authorities still doubt what’s behind this extraordinary spate of storms and rising sea levels.

The London-based Economist reported that man-made climate change is the culprit. It goes so far as to argue that the nation’s water storages were built too high in the 1950s. It’s a contentious issue within the scientific community — but potentially very serious.

“If it’s man-made (in the sense) of deforestation, deforestation is not caused by higher greenhouse gases (global warming), but by deforestation, and human practices and trafficking of wood, whether in Nigerian kind or elsewhere,” said Lukasz Stolarski, professor of geosciences at the University of Leeds.

Scientists believe that man-made climate change is to blame for the intensity of recent storms.

“Human-induced climate change is what is fundamentally affecting the variability of these climatic conditions,” and not some natural process, said Yamini Bhandari, assistant professor at the University of East Anglia’s Sainsbury Centre for Climate Change.

Lagos is an incredibly dense city, more than twice the size of Detroit, Michigan, and home to 12 million residents. And the rising sea levels have put a strain on its infrastructure.

One of the city’s hospitals reported a serious threat of contracting cholera after some of its patients collapsed because of the heavy flooding.

The number of typhoid cases in Lagos have doubled since this spring — a sign of “crippling environmental pressures, such as poor sanitation, degradation of food supplies and epidemic diseases that are exacerbated by longer periods of poor rainfall,” James Campbell, editor of the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, told ABC News.

Authorities said there are already signs of a more dangerous outbreak of typhoid in the city of Lagos.

“What we saw yesterday was basically there is diarrhoea and raw sewage coming into the streets, that really should not happen in Lagos,” Nasir Conteh, the state’s medical commissioner, told local news.

Authorities are urging residents to take the flooding in their stride, and a “total city awareness campaign” to make residents more aware of the risks.

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