Author: Billy

The Niger Delta Flooding Is a Disaster

The Niger Delta Flooding Is a Disaster

Displaced by devastating floods, Nigerians are forced to use floodwater despite cholera risk


Nigerians in the capital of the Niger Delta are forced to use floodwater in relief efforts in spite of the risks associated with waterborne diseases such as cholera.

The flooding has been particularly debilitating with about 300 people killed and thousands forced to take refuge in makeshift shelters and homes or have to walk out of their communities to safety, leaving millions of Nigerians homeless.

A few weeks ago, when I visited Badde, a community of over 40,000 people, the local hospital’s medical staff told me the death toll was higher than that of the floods. That same week, I visited the local government headquarters to find it flooded. Some government buildings had been partially collapsed. Others were reduced to rubble. The offices of the national radio station were flooded so badly, the building’s staff had to stay inside.

The flooding is the culmination of drought, with little rain falling in recent months. About two months ago, a dry spell in the region had dried out the normally fertile soil. “The floodwaters will take decades to leave the Delta,” said a doctor who had treated scores of patients in the region.

The government has set up hundreds of temporary camps to accommodate the displaced people. At each camp, the government and the Red Cross carry out various relief operations, sometimes together, and sometimes in parallel.

An African Union delegation of three government-appointed member states arrived in the Lagos area last Friday. They are here to discuss the situation, and the crisis is expected to come under the auspices of the African Union’s crisis committee, which met Thursday.

Last Wednesday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Nigeria’s government was planning on transferring 100,000 tons of food aid from the country to northern Nigeria and Cameroon to alleviate a humanitarian crisis.

The federal government has set up an Emergency Relief Fund to distribute aid money to the affected region, and I spoke with

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