Nigeria – 300 Dead, 100,000 Displaced as Government Warns of Worsening Floods

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Nigeria reports that more than 300 people have lost their lives in flooding in the country. Further heavy rain and dam releases are likely to worsen the situation.

The UN reported a cholera outbreak in parts of north-east Nigeria attributed to the widespread contamination of water sources by flooding.

Floods in Jigawa State, Nigeria. Photo: Disaster Management Initiative

In an emergency technical meeting on the flood situation in Nigeria, the Director General of NEMA, Mustapha Ahmed, said flooding has affected 29 states including the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja since February this year.

The director said more than 300 people have died, 500 have ben injured and over 500,000 affected. More than 100,000 have been displaced and moved to temporary shelters including schools and other public buildings or with host families.

Severe Floods from June 2022

Severe flooding struck in the country in Yobe in July and in Jigawa state in August this year where at least 50 people died. In late August severe flooding in Adamawa State caused 10 fatalities.

In a period from June to September 2022, FloodList recorded flood events in the states of Lagos, Anambra, Federal Capital Territory, Borno, Ebonyi, River State, Bauchi and Benue, as well the flooding in Jigawa, Adamawa and Yobe mentioned above.

Recent Floods in Taraba, Adamawa, Delta, Bauchi, Kano, Gombe, Benue and Jigawa

More heavy rain combined with dam releases has caused further flooding, affecting communities in at least 8 states since the start of September.

The release of water from Kiri and Lagdo dams has resulted in flooding in communities along the river banks of around 12 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Taraba and Adamawa States. People are displaced and farmland and houses submerged, NEMA said.

Over the last few days NEMA reported floods in Delta state, where water submerged farmlands and damage houses and property. Cassava, potato and other crops were all destroyed.

Authorities were carrying out damage assessments in Zaki and Gamawa Local Government Areas of Bauchi State, following flooding caused by the overflow of Challawa Gorge Dam in Karaye Local Government Area of Kano State. Flooding has also affected communities in Wudil and Warawa in Kano state.

Torrential rain in September caused flooding in Nafada Local Government Area of Gombe State leading to displacement of families, loss of livestock and damage to crops. NEMA said many families have been left homeless.

Flooding from early September affected communities in Benue State. Assessments were carried out on 19 September 2022 revealing 3,274 people were affected while about 1,213 houses were destroyed. Farmlands are also submerged while their sources of livelihood were also destroyed.

Further flooding has affected areas of Jigawa State during September. A total of 92 people have now lost their lives in flooding in Jigawa in the last 6 weeks. Property, livelihoods, and infrastructure have all been severely impacted.

The state’s Disaster Management Initiative (DMI) said that most of the victims were displaced from their various communities and rendered homeless, and that victims were in dire need of shelter and relief supplies, including food, blankets, mosquito nets and clothing.

Floods in Jigawa State, Nigeria. Photo: Disaster Management Initiative

Cholera Outbreak

According to a UN report of 20 September 2022, Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states in north-east Nigeria have been affected by outbreaks of Cholera for the second consecutive year. The UN reported over 1,500 suspected cases and 64 fatalities as of end of August. Some 17 local government areas (LGAs) across the three states are reporting cases that are largely attributed to the widespread contamination of water sources by flooding as the rainy season enters its peak.

Yobe State, where over 60,000 people have been severely affected by flooding, is currently the most affected with 36 fatalities and over 900 suspected cases. Adamawa and Yobe states have officially confirmed the outbreak of cholera (Borno has since declared an outbreak).

Dam Releases and Worsening Floods

Further heavy rain, swollen rivers and dam releases mean the flood situation is likely to worsen in the country, in particular in the 13 states of Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Niger, Nasarawa, Kebbi, Kogi, Edo, Delta, Anambra, Cross River, Rivers and Bayelsa.

The Director General of NEMA, Mustapha Ahmed, said.

“Based on our communication with the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), the Lagdo dam operators in the Republic of Cameroon have commenced the release of excess water from the reservoir by 13th September 2022.

“We are aware that the released water cascades down to Nigeria through River Benue and its tributaries thereby inundating communities that have already been impacted by heavy precipitation.

“The released water complicates the situation further downstream as Nigeria’s inland reservoirs including Kainji, Jebba, and Shiroro are also expected to overflow between now and October ending according to NIHSA.

“According to NIHSA, Kainji and Jebba dams have already started spilling excess water from their reservoirs.

“This will have serious consequences on frontline States and communities along the courses of rivers Niger and Benue.”