At least 600 people have been killed and more than 2 million have been affected, as a result of the worst flooding Nigeria has witnessed in a decade. According to the country’s humanitarian ministry, the southern region experienced particularly heavy rains.
The ministry also indicated that more than 200,000 homes have been completely or partially damaged by the flooding and at least 1.4 million people have been displaced. The minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, during the update on October 16 said at least 110,000 hectares of farmland have submerged.
Furthermore, the flooding is expected to continue until the end of November, said the country’s meteorological agency. This comes amid Nigeria’s seasonal flooding, however, this year has been significantly worse which the government has reportedly attributed to unusually heavy rains due to climate change.
Meanwhile, the country’s National Emergency Management Agency did warn of catastrophic flooding for states along the Niger and Benue rivers, adding that three of the country’s overfilled reservoirs were expected to overflow. This is in addition to the emergency release of excess water from both dams in the west African country and in neighbouring Cameroon which has also contributed to these devastating floods, said NEMA.
In a press conference, on Sunday, the minister of humanitarian affairs said, “We are calling on the respective State Governments, Local Government Councils and Communities to prepare for more flooding by evacuating people living on flood plains to high grounds, provide tents and relief materials, fresh water as well as medical supplies for a possible outbreak of water-borne diseases.” She added that despite efforts and early warnings many states “did not prepare” for the flooding.
According to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, floods have affected 33 out of the 36 states in the country, with at least 700,000 people being displaced in the southern state of Bayelsa alone. He also asked all the federal agencies to ramp up their rescue and disaster management response. Reportedly, Buhari has also ordered 12,000 metric tonnes of food from the country’s strategic reserve to help communities, said media reports.
The United Nations has previously also said how countries like Nigeria face intense effects of climate change and the country is also at risk of frequent and intense flooding. According to the UN in 2019 more than 200,000 people were affected by the floods and at least 158 were killed.
While the World Food Programme and the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) last month indicated that the west African nation is also among six countries facing a high risk of catastrophic levels of hunger.