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How Africa’s largest city is staying afloat

How Africa's largest city is staying afloat

The most populous city in Africa is also one of its most vulnerable to sea level rise and floods. To stay afloat, everything from its architecture to its transport may have to change.

Navigating the thronging streets of Lagos, Nigeria, is a challenge at the best of times. But during the rainy seasons, the city's streets can become almost impassable. Home to more than 24 million, Lagos is Nigeria's economic powerhouse, making it a destination for people seeking new opportunities. But that rapid growth creates pressure on the streets, and the environment.

The streets are often flooded, in part due to the dysfunctional disposal of the 6,000-10,000 tonnes of rubbish generated daily in the city. After a downpour, rubbish piles up in open gutters and makes moving around the streets difficult. “I worry when it rains, especially when it is heavy,” says Lagos resident Stephanie Erigha. "It makes me anxious." On one occasion when taking a taxi through a waterlogging-prone part of the city, she recalls the water gushing right into the back seat next to her.

While the overall climate in Lagos is expected to see less rainfall overall with climate change, the intensity of rain is expected to increase, bringing with it greater risk of flooding.

How, in the face of flooding, blocked streets and rising waters, is Africa's most populous city adapting?

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