More than 2 million people at risk as devastating floods hit Nigeria

Nigeria has continued to suffer its worst case of flooding in a long time due to torrential rainfall. Millions of persons have been affected; over 600 persons have lost their lives in what has been described as the country’s worst flooding disaster in a decade with vast areas of farmland, infrastructure, and homes fully or partly destroyed leading to impending food shortage in Africa’s most populous country.

According to Nigeria’s Emergency Management Agency, dangerous floods are wreaking havoc in 31 of the country’s 36 states, and have affected more than 2 million people. Meanwhile, rains are still expected for a while longer in some states, with the possibility of more flooding.

Response from government has become overwhelming for the affected states, leading to the states calling for assistance from the federal government. Many states, including Benue, Kogi, Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta, have lamented to the federal government for assistance, because the situation has become overwhelming for them to handle alone.

The minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq confirmed the distribution of relief items to 21 states affected by the floods. Umar Farouq stated that the distribution of food and non-food items to other states were already ongoing.

“While specialized teams are on ground, there are still some States and local governments that are inaccessible and hard to reach. To address this, we are working with the Military Disaster Response Units and other stakeholders with specialized skills and equipment to ensure that we use other means to reach hard-to-reach areas and people at risk,” the minister said during a briefing on Tuesday to keep the public abreast of responses and interventions made so far by the ministry and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on the flood situation across the country.

According to UNICEF, more than 2.5 million people in Nigeria are in need of humanitarian assistance, 60 per cent of which are children and are at increased risk of waterborne diseases, drowning and malnutrition.

“Children and adolescents in flood-affected areas are in an extremely vulnerable situation,” said Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria. “They are particularly at risk of waterborne diseases and emotional and psychological distress. UNICEF is working closely with the Government and other partners to provide life-saving assistance to those who are most in need.”

According to UNICEF’s Children’s Climate Risk Index (CCRI), Nigeria is considered at ‘extremely high risk’ of the impacts of climate change, ranking second out of 163 countries.

Churches and Christian organizations have also reached out to help the affected families with President of Joyce Meyer Ministries lending her support to victims of floods in the country. Joyce Meyer while taking to her verified Instagram page noted that her prayers are with Nigerians affected by the recent floods while her ministry has made arrangements for relief materials for affected persons.

Meyer noted that her office in Nigeria has made arrangements for relief materials such as food packs, malaria nets, malaria medication, water, and other basic necessities to be distributed to those affected by the floods.

She wrote, “Recent flooding in Nigeria has displaced around 600,000 people. Our office in Nigeria is working to provide food packs, malaria nets, malaria medication, water, and other basic necessities to those affected by the floods. Please join us in praying for the nation of Nigeria and all those devastated by this disaster.”

Pope Francis has also expressed his thoughtfulness about the ongoing “violent rains” in Nigeria and said he is in solidarity with those affected by the ensuing floods.

Pope Francis said, “I think of the violent rains that have fallen on their country in these days, causing flooding, numerous deaths and tremendous damage.”

“Let us pray for all who have lost their lives and for everyone affected by this devastating natural disaster,” Pope Francis said.

In their statement, church leaders under the auspices of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said, “Hundreds of distributors of refined petroleum products are trapped in a heavy traffic gridlock that reportedly stretches as far as 10 kilometers.”

They called on the Federal government of Nigeria to create a “Presidential Flood Relief Committee” towards the support of victims of the destructive floods in the West Africa nation.

The church leaders said that the establishment of the committee was “necessary and timely at this point in our national life because the diligent intervention by all stakeholders will no doubt reduce the burden imposed by the natural disaster facing us today.”


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