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Sea-Level Rise and Nigeria: Potential Impacts and Consequences

Gregory T. French, Larry F. Awosika and C.E. Ibe
Journal of Coastal Research
SPECIAL ISSUE NO. 14. Potential Impacts of Accelerated Sea-Level Rise on Developing Countries (SPRING 1995), pp. 224-242
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25735710
Page Count: 19
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Sea-Level Rise and Nigeria: Potential Impacts and Consequences
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Abstract

Much of Nigeria's population and economic activity is located along the low-lying coastline, including the Niger delta, the former capital city of Lagos, and the country's vital oil industry. A combination of aerial videotape, cartographic, and ground-truth data were used to estimate the land and population vulnerable to sea-level rise over the next 100 years. This is the first quantitative analysis of Nigeria's vulnerability to sea-level rise, and the results suggest that the potential social and economic costs to Nigeria could be significant. A one-meter rise in sea level could flood as much as 18,000 km² of land, forcing as many as 3.2 million people to relocate from their homes and destroying infrastructure currently valued at over $18 billion, including vital oil producing facilities. Protecting the highly developed coastal areas and oil infrastructure alone would cost about U.S. $600 to $700 million. If this investment occurred over 50 years (2051 to 2100), it would represent an annual cost of 0.2% to 0.3% of the national gross investment in 1990. Protection of all moderately developed areas would cost about U.S. $1.4 to $1.8 billion. This includes the costs of relocating over 600,000 people from areas where protection does not appear feasible, the less developed Niger delta and the Mahin Mud Coast. In addition, 17,000 km² of wetlands could be lost. Future studies are required to improve topographic data of the coastal zone, to understand coastal drainage and flooding, which is already a major problem, and to investigate the socioeconomic consequences of the projected population displacement and relocation.

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