Some 1.3 million Nigerians have been displaced and 431 have died in what the authorities say is the worst flooding in over 40 years, with 30 of the country’s 36 states affected since July, according to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Heavy rain has submerged much of Delta and Bayelsa states in the southwest, affecting some 350 communities and making 120,000 people homeless, according to the state authorities and the Nigerian Red Cross (NRC).
Flooding started in Plateau State in central Nigeria in July, spread through Borno, Cross River, Ebonyi, Nassarawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Katsina and Kebbi states in August, hit Taraba Benue, Niger, Kaduna and Kano in September, before affecting Delta and Bayelsa states in September and October.
Thousands of people who had sheltered in dozens of temporary displacement sites in Delta and Bayelsa states have had to flee once again as they have been flooded, forcing agencies to build new ones on higher ground.
In Bayelsa’s capital, Yenagoa, 3,000 people are sleeping in the Ovom State Sports Complex.
Thousands of houses, some 20 health clinics and five hospitals, as well as dozens of schools, churches and government buildings have been destroyed or damaged in Delta State. Six of Bayelsa’s eight districts were flooded, according to Emenike Umesi, NEMA’s zonal coordinator in Port Harcourt.
Most of the schools in the affected area are closed or currently occupied by internally displaced persons (IDPs).
It is not yet known how many hectares of crops have been destroyed but many farmers told IRIN they had lost everything – including this year’s yam, cassava and cocoa yam crop – while most of the fisheries were also flooded. “All my sources of livelihood are destroyed… I am pleading with the federal government to compensate us and find a lasting solution to the flood menace,” said Philip Ofodemu, a farmer from the Kwele community in Delta State.