Yola – Half a million Nigerians have been affected by floods caused by heavy rains since the start of the year, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Tuesday.
Twenty-three of Africa’s most populous country’s 36 states are affected by seasonal flooding, with northeastern states particularly hard-hit this year.
Buhari’s office said emergency services were providing aid and he was receiving regular updates on the floods, which have affected more than 500,000 Nigerians since January this year.
“The destructive floods have displaced 73 379 people,” caused more than 100 casualties, and injured about another 270 people, Buhari said in a statement.
In Maiduguri, the regional capital of northeast Borno State, the epicentre of the country’s more than decade-long jihadist insurgency, people displaced by the conflict have seen their farms and homes destroyed by flooding.
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“For the past 20 years, we haven’t experienced such heavy floods. But this year, they have destroyed our farms, our homes and even taken the lives of some of us,” Maiduguri resident Auwal Abale told AFP.
“Yesterday we found a corpse floating on the water surface.”
Nigeria’s grinding 13-year jihadist war in the northeast has killed more than 40 000 and displaced more than two million from their homes, mostly in Borno State.
Flooding is common in many parts of Nigeria during the rainy season which runs from May to September.
A decade ago, Nigeria suffered disastrous floods across most of its states, leaving hundreds dead and more than two million homeless.