Nigeria – Almost 800,000 Displaced, 500 Dead as Floods Worsen

Flooding continues to take its toll on the population of Nigeria, where 500 people have now lost their lives and almost 800,000 have been displaced, according to the latest government figures.

Copernicus Sentinel 2 satellite image of the floods in Lokoja Kogi Nigeria September 2022

In a statement on 11 October 2022, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, said flooding in the country has now impacted the lives of 1.4 million people and displaced 790,254.

Around 500 people have died and 1,546 have been injured. This increase from late September when the national government reported over 300 people had died and 100,000 were displaced by floods across Nigeria since February 2022.

Flooding has caused widespread damage to homes and livelihoods. As many as 44,099 houses have been partially damaged and 45,249 houses destroyed. As much as 70,566 hectares of farmland and crops has ben destroyed and a further 76,168 hectares damaged, the Permanent Secretary said.

Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo announced the federal government’s response with the approval of the National Emergency Flood Preparedness and Response Plans by the Federal Executive Council. The plans aim to mitigate and reduce the impact of the flood nationwide. As of 11 October, relief materials had reached 315,000 of those displaced, he said.

In mid-September authorities warned that necessary dam releases were likely to increase river levels further, in particular the Benue and Niger.

Flooding has now affected 31 states plus the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Kogi and Anambra

Wide areas of the state of Kogi in the North Central region of Nigeria are underwater after the Niger and Benue rivers broke their banks. By early October, flooding in the state was so severe the governor described it as a “humanitarian tragedy”.

It is a similar story in Anambra State. On 01 October the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said 651,053 people in 6 local government areas of the state were affected or displaced by floods. Affected LGAs included Ogbaru, Anambra West, Anambra East, Awka North, Ayamelum and Anambra North.

On 07 October a boat reportedly carrying 85 people capsized. The passengers were said to be escaping rising flood waters in Ogbaru.

Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria, offered his condolences.

“The boat reportedly carrying 85 persons capsized following rising floods in Ogbaru area of the State, with emergency bodies confirming a death toll of 76.

“I pray for the repose of the souls of the deceased and for everyone’s safety, as well as the well-being of the family members of the victims of this tragic accident,” said the President.

On 10 October NEMA and military begin SAR operations using helicopters to airlift trapped flood victims.