Flooding in Nigeria kills more than 600 people, officials say

Flood water breaks a river bank and overflows into a settlement in Lokoja, Nigeria October 13, 2022. 

Afolabi Sotunde | Reuters

More than 600 people have died and more than 1.3 million have been displaced in the worst floods Nigeria has experienced in over a decade, according to the country’s humanitarian affairs department.

Thousands of homes and large swaths of farmland, roads and other critical infrastructure have been damaged or destroyed. The widespread flooding was prompted by extreme rainfall and the release of water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon, which neighbors Nigeria.

Nigeria has put forward a national response plan for state and local governments and has provided food and supplies to states. Flooding has impacted 27 of Nigeria’s 36 states, officials said, and several more weeks of flooding is anticipated.

Matthias Schmale, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator for Nigeria, said that climate change played a role in worsening the flooding. Rising temperatures have prompted more evaporation in the atmosphere, leading to more frequent and intense precipitation events and drought conditions.

“Climate change is real, as we are yet again discovering in Nigeria,” Schmale said during a press briefing last week.

Flood water, breaking a bank, floods a road close to a river bank in Lokoja, Nigeria October 13, 2022.

Ayodeji Oluwagbemiga | Reuters

Sadiya Umar Farouq, the minister of humanitarian affairs, said this week that states and local governments failed to take adequate action to prepare for the extreme floods despite the forecasts, and urged local communities to take heed of climate predictions.

Farouq also called on officials to prepare for more flooding by evacuating people residing on flood plains to high grounds, as well as providing tents, relief materials and medical supplies to communities.

“There was enough warning and information about the 2022 flood, but states, local governments and communities appear not to take heed,” the minister wrote in a tweet on Monday.

Floodwaters have inundated numerous communities along the banks of the Niger and Benue rivers, as well as Lokoja, the capital city of the state of Kogi, according to satellite imagery shared by NASA.

Vehicles are seen submerged in flood water at a petrol station in Lokoja, Nigeria October 13, 2022. 

Afolabi Sotunde | Reuters

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