Nearly half a million people are currently affected by flooding in Nigeria, with 141 people reported dead and 265 injured, according to Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). Thousands of people have been displaced and farmlands in central and southern Nigeria have been destroyed, says the BBC’s Is’haq Khalid.
The heavy rains began in July and have continued to inundate the country well into September. The rains caused the region’s two largest rivers - the Niger and the Benue – to over flow and expand well beyond their banks. The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency reported that the Benue and Niger Rivers were close to reaching levels similar to those in 2012 that led to floods that killed more than 350 people.
The rainy season is partially to blame for the flooding, and generally runs from July to September every year in Nigeria. It poses the annual threat of devastation and destruction around the country, claiming lives and destroying property along the way.
The Government of Nigeria has declared a state of emergency in the four worst-affected states of Kogi, Niger, Anambra and Delta. The flood waters have also reached parts of Rivers and Beyelsa states, forcing NEMA and the military to begin evacuating families in that area and relocating them to nearby relief camps, according to a report by FloodList.
Analysts say that recurring flood disasters could be caused by blocked waterways, poor drainage systems, and poor town planning. The floods have also raised concerns among authorities regarding the spread of diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
The government continues to urge residents along water ways to relocate to safe places to avoid flood waters, contracting communicable waterborne diseases, or getting trapped in their homes.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an emergency appeal on behalf of the Nigerian Red Cross to raise money and supplies for relief efforts. The IFRC hopes to gain enough support to provide shelter and relief items to the 300,000 most vulnerable people for nine months.
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Photo Credit: IFRC