Nigeria is facing a “major emergency,” with tens of thousands of people displaced by recent flooding at risk of hunger and disease if help cannot be got to them, the Nigerian Red Cross said on Thursday.
“Many of the 200 000 people who fled flood waters are now leaving displacement camps but some of them are finding nothing but destroyed homes and farmland”, Abubakar Kende, Secretary General for Nigerian Red Cross Society said in a statement.
Some 200 people died in floods across 12 states after the main Niger and Benue rivers burst their banks earlier this year.
“The world is ignoring a major humanitarian crisis. Nearly two million people have been affected by this flooding disaster… This is a major emergency,” the Nigerian Red Cross said.
“If the world continues to ignore the humanitarian needs created by this flood disaster, the consequences are likely to be far-reaching,” it added.
It said unless concerted action was taken the story of loss and death will be repeated.
“Research shows that the impact of climate change combined with rapid population growth in Nigeria’s fast-growing cities will increase the risk of disasters. We know that Nigeria will continue to face devastating floods like this at an ever-increasing rate.”
The humanitarian agency said although flood waters had receded, another crisis looms large.
“The worst-affected communities rely solely on agriculture as a source of food and income. With no crops expected from the flooded lands for months, thousands are facing the threat of hunger which is one of the causes of vulnerability to diseases,” it added.
Nigeria suffered one of its worst flooding disasters in 2012 when hundreds of people lost their lives and about two million were left homeless in 30 of the country’s 36 states.