The disaster also destroyed thousands of acres of farmland, raising fears of a food supply disruption in Africa’s most populous country.
Since 2012, “this (the flood-related deaths) is the highest we’ve ever had,” said Manzo Ezekiel, a spokesperson for the disaster relief agency.
Nigeria registers floods every year due to non-implementation of environmental guidelines and inadequate infrastructure. Authorities blame this year’s flooding on overflowing water from some local rivers, unusual rainfall and the release of excess water from the Lagdo Dam in the northern region of neighboring Cameroon.
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, or NEMA, predicted more flooding in 2022 than last year due to “excessive rainfall and contributions from external flows” such as the Cameroon dam.
On Monday, the Nigerian disaster relief agency warned states of “serious consequences” in the coming weeks from more than a dozen states as two of the country’s dams began to flood.
“I would like to advise all frontline state governments to remove communities at risk of flooding, identify safe higher grounds for evacuation of persons, and stockpile adequate supplies of food and non-food items,” said NEMA head Mustapha Habib Ahmed.
More than 20 people have been killed in the northwestern state of Jigawa in the past week, Yusuf Sani Babura, head of the Jigawa State Emergency Management Agency, told the AP. The state has recorded 91 flood deaths this year — more than any state in the country.
“We are facing devastating floods that are beyond our control,” Babura said. “We tried our best and couldn’t stop it.”
The floods have also destroyed crops in many farmlands, mainly in the northern region of Nigeria, which produces much of what the country eats, raising concerns that food supplies have already been disrupted by armed conflict in the northwestern and central regions of Nigeria. could further affect the country.
In north-central Benue state, Aondongu Kwagh-bee said he recently visited his rice farm and found that a torrential downpour “wiped everything away”.
“At the moment there is nothing. Just sand filled up and the rice washed away,” the 30-year-old said.
Akintunde Babatunde, an Abuja-based climate analyst, said the main cause of Nigeria’s annual flooding problem is poor infrastructure designs in roads, drainage and waste disposal.
“Unusual rainfall is evidence of the changing climate … so climate change is no longer a threat,” he said.