As the unusually heavy rainy season hit Nigeria, massive flooding swept across 33 of the country’s 36 states displacing more than 1 million people. More than 600 people died due to the natural disaster and many more experienced injuries. The swelling of the Niger River also destroyed more than 90,000 homes.
The 2022 floods are the worst in a decade and come at an already distressing time for Nigeria as its northern states have been experiencing widespread violence, forcing 3 million from their homes. An article appearing in The Guardian in 2020 highlights the dire state of drainage and infrastructure which exacerbates the problem. The article states “From Lagos Island to the mainland, the absence of a good drainage system is evident in the many roads that the floods have washed away…” The Nigerian government has also accused neighboring Cameroon of sending extra water from its annual release of the Lagdo dam, according to AP News.
Flooding Exacerbates Food Insecurity in Nigeria
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and has seen rapid urbanization in recent years, with over 211 million residents in 2021. As the country continues to expand, more economic potential is possible, though the wounds of colonial oppression still exist.
In addition to loss of life and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, the floods have also disrupted food supplies. Roads blocked by the river have halted trucks bringing in supplies to communities affected by the disaster. Thankfully, President Muhammadu Buhari announced that 12,000 metric tons of grain will be distributed among victims of flooding, though much more will be needed to provide adequate aid to victims of flooding in Nigeria.
“In the same region, more than 4 million people are projected to continue experiencing acute food insecurity amid the worsening global food crisis,” according to the U.S. Mission in Nigeria.
There is also an increased risk of waterborne illnesses and diseases including cholera. Cholera outbreaks were already declared in August and September across the Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states, where at least 7,750 cases were recorded.
Aid to the Country
During 2020 and 2021, the U.S. sent more than $500 million in relief to the country. In October 2022, the U.S. approved $1 million in immediate aid to the country, which will greatly help the situation by providing organizations on the ground to set up temporary housing and gain access to more relief commodities.
The EU is another donor, sending €58 million to Nigeria to fund food assistance and food rations for families in 2022.
Organizations like the Internation Rescue Committee, also help to bridge the gap by delivering clean water and food, as well as providing health and education services across the country.
Though much more funding will be necessary to adequately resolve the crisis flooding has caused, this is a huge help to those in need. The health and growth of developing nations such as Nigeria are essential to the development of the global economy.
– Shane Chase