Review article: a review and critical analysis of the efforts towards urban flood risk management in the Lagos region of Nigeria

Ugonna Nkwunonwo, Malcolm Whitworth, Brian Baily

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Urban flooding has been and will continue to be a significant problem for many cities across the developed and developing world. Crucial to the amelioration of the effects of these floods is the need to formulate a sound flood management policy, which is driven by knowledge of the frequency and magnitude of impacts of these floods. Within the area of flood research, attempts are being made to gain a better understanding of the causes, impacts, and pattern of urban flooding. According to the United Nations office for disaster reduction (UNISDR), flood risk is conceptualized on the basis of three integral components which are frequently adopted during flood damage estimation. These components are: probability of flood hazard, the level of exposure, and vulnerabilities of elements at risk. Reducing the severity of each of these components is the objective of flood risk management under the UNISDR guideline and idea of “living with floods”. On the basis of this framework, the present research reviews flood risk within the Lagos area of Nigeria over the period 1968–2012. During this period, floods have caused harm to millions of people physically, emotionally, and economically. Arguably over this period the efforts of stakeholders to address the challenges appear to have been limited by, amongst other things, a lack of reliable data, a lack of awareness amongst the population affected, and a lack of knowledge of flood risk mitigation. It is the aim of this research to assess the current understanding of flood risk and management in Lagos and to offer recommendations towards future guidance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-369
JournalNatural Hazards and Earth System Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


  • Lagos
  • flooding
  • Natural hazards


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