Nigerian officials say at least 500 people have been killed and 1.4 million displaced in the worst flooding in a decade. Officials say floods have affected nearly all of Nigeria’s states and 90,000 homes have been partially or completely destroyed.
The permanent secretary of Nigeria’s ministry of humanitarian affairs and disaster management, Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, announced the latest figures during a media briefing Tuesday in Abuja.
He said more than 1,500 people were injured and that the disaster had an impact on farmland across all but five of Nigeria’s 36 states.
It is the worst flooding to be recorded in the West African nation since 2012. Authorities say heavier than normal rainfall and the release of water from a dam in Cameroon are to blame and have promised to help communities cope with the impact.
Isah Garba, who heads a community of farmers and fishers in Agabroko, in Central Kogi State, said the floods wreaked havoc on his people. He said his village was completely submerged, destroying farms of rice, corn, and even animals. He added that about 20 people died, mostly kids.
Thousands of people from Garba’s area and neighboring villages are taking refuge on dry land several kilometers away from their homes. But there’s limited access to basic amenities there, and the government’s aid has yet to reach them.
Sani-Gwarzo said authorities have approved emergency action to mitigate the impact of the flood nationwide. He said a national emergency response plan will take into account other communities not directly hit by flooding.
Thirty-eight-year-old Fatima Adamu, who lost her livestock, is among those who say they need help. She said she lost 15 goats, and those that remain are falling sick.
The National Emergency Management Agency says that so far, it has reached some 300,000 people.
Meanwhile, Nigerian weather forecasters have warned that more flooding could be in store.