FLOOD RISK AND VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT OF OWERRI IMO STATE
Flood is a water related natural hazard that affects a wide range of human activities. In the recent past many communities in Owerri have suffered losses as a result of flood. This work utilized Remote Sensing and GIS in flood risk mapping. Data on environmental indices were integrated in a GIS to perform risk / vulnerability assessment. The flood risk map produced and the ground truthing carried out confirmed that the area with the highest flood risk is located within CBN quarters, Owala, Owaelu in Uratta, Emii and Agbala communities. While areas like Works layout, Federal Government college Teachers quarter, Imo state University Staff School and Amakohia have medium risk of flood hazard. Pointer to flood hazard mapping assessed by administering questionnaire shows that physical location, poor waste management practice, inadequate/poorly constructed roads and drainages, rainfall and poor development control practices, account for 30%, 20%, 20%, 10% and 15% respectively of the response on cause of flood. Property information collected shows severity of flood in terms of number of buildings affected and impact on infrastructural facilities such as road. Vulnerability assessment was based on a combination of socio economic and environmental factors. The research confirmed that the causes of flood as well as the perception of flood risk vary in the study locations. A total of about 513.44 square kilometer of land was used for analysis. Out of this, 320.45km (62.41%) are not vulnerable, 79.56km (15.495%) have low vulnerability, 43.21km (8.415%) have moderate vulnerability while 70.22 (13.676%) have high vulnerability. The study concluded that vulnerability to flood is shaped by physical location, socio economic and environmental circumstances of everyday living. The study recommend Environmental education, monthly clean up exercises of drains, good development control practices, and further research on flood risk and vulnerability to ensure that area which this study has not covered is given attention.