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Home ยป Nigeria’s worst floods in a decade displaced over a million people

Nigeria’s worst floods in a decade displaced over a million people

Nigeria's worst floods in a decade displaced over a million people

The climate crisis is disproportionately affecting the global south and harming the global majority, even though the global north produces the majority of emissions.

Nigeria is the latest nation to be hit by a climate catastrophe this year, receiving far less care and support than the people affected there need.

Severe flooding in Nigeria since September has killed more than 600 people and driven 1.3 million from their homes, according to a government minister, in the most devastating episode of seasonal flooding Nigeria has seen in a decade.

Heavy rains combined with poor urban planning have made parts of Nigeria more prone to flooding.

Around the River Niger Bridge that connects Lagos to Onitsha and the rest of Eastern Nigeria, significant parts of surrounding communities have been submerged, crippling economic activity for many small traders and farmers. The situation was so dire that Sadiya Umar Farouq, Nigeria’s minister of humanitarian affairs, asked five state governments to prepare to evacuate residents living along flood plains. In Anambra, one of those states, 76 people died trying to flee the flood after an escape boat capsized.

More than 2.5 million people in Nigeria are in need of humanitarian assistance – 60 per cent of the children – and are at increased risk of water-borne diseases, drowning and malnutrition due to the worst flooding in a decade, UNICEF warned today.

The floods, which affected 34 out of the 36 states in the country, displaced 1.3 million people. More than 600 people lost their lives and more than 200,000 houses were either partially or fully damaged. Cases of diarrhea and waterborne diseases, respiratory infection and skin diseases are already on the rise.

In the northeastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe alone, a total of 7,485 cases of cholera and 319 associated deaths have been reported as of 12 October. As rains are expected to continue for several weeks, humanitarian needs are also expected to increase.

“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 water-borne diseases and emotional and psychological distress. UNICEF is working closely with the government and other partners to provide life-saving assistance to those most in need.”

The floods add another layer of complexity to the country’s already precarious humanitarian situation. Immediate priority needs for children include health, water, sanitation and hygiene; as well as shelter and food. Additional funding and resources are needed to respond to growing needs and to sustain ongoing humanitarian interventions, focusing on the most vulnerable, including children with disabilities.

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

Children in ‘extremely high risk’ countries face a lethal combination of exposure to multiple climates and environmental shocks, combined with high levels of underlying child vulnerability, due to inadequate essential services, such as water and sanitation, health care and education.

Meanwhile, the US saw a sharp divide across the country thanks to the positioning of the jet stream. The western half of the country had a late summer blast, bringing another wave of record temperatures. Seattle was one city affected by the heat, with the mercury hitting 31C (87.8F) last Sunday. Temperatures have never reached such highs so late in the season, with this October having more days above 75F (23.9C) than any other.

However, the eastern half of the US had an early winter blast. In the Great Lakes, in particular, records were broken due to the cold, with parts of Michigan and Wisconsin recording more than 40 cm of snow through Monday and Tuesday.

It was caused by what is called lake effect snow, where the temperature difference between the relatively warm water of the Great Lakes and the cold air aloft drives persistent and intense convective precipitation.

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