Torrential rains have unleashed floods in different parts of Nigeria over the past few days, killing at least 100 people and damaging thousands of homes, according to officials.
A national disaster was declared in four states – Kogi, Niger, Anambra and Delta – over the flooding, meaning that the federal government had taken over the search, rescue and rehabilitation of victims.
“Based on the data available, 100 people have so far died in 10 states,” Sani Datti, spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said on Monday.
Delta is an oil-producing state in the Niger Delta region, home to Africa’s biggest energy industry, where the Niger river fans out before emptying itself into the Atlantic. There has been no reported impact on crude oil production.
Kogi and Niger are in central Nigeria whereas the other two are in the south.
In Lokoja, the state capital of Kogi, floods partially submerged several houses.
The city lies at the confluence of the Benue and the Niger, Africa’s third-longest river, making it particularly vulnerable to high waters.
“The water started coming this month and after a while, it appeared behind our houses and continued without let-up until last week when the water surrounded our houses,” Angulu Atodo, a retiree in Lokoja, told Reuters news agency.
“I didn’t have anywhere to go to. They carried us off to a place far away and we have been there without any food or anything.”
Nigeria’s rainy season, which typically runs from March to September, brings with it inevitable flooding.
Such flooding is exacerbated by poor infrastructure and lack of planning to protect against the waters, but this year the destruction has been the worst since 2012.
At least 140 people were killed and tens of thousands forced to abandon their homes that year, in Nigeria’s worst flooding in more than five decades.