Heavy rains caused the Niger River and Benue River to overflow in Nigeria. More than 100 people have died in floods over two weeks, with rural areas most vulnerable.
Thousands of people have been displaced. Vast swathes of farmlands have been destroyed by in center and south of the country. In Niger State more than 40 people have died. Kwara, Benue, Kogi, Adamawa, Taraba, Kebbi, Bayelsa, Edo, Anambra, Rivers and Delta states were also affected. Nigerian authorities are considering declaring a state of emergency because heavy rains continue. For the actual situation poor administrative decisions are also to be blamed. Lack of proper town planning, blocked waterways and poor drainage systems produced consequences.
Nigeria faces flooding almost every year. Some of the worst flooding in recent memory happened five years ago in March 2012 when 32 of Nigeria’s 36 states were affected, 24 severely. More than 360 people were killed and almost 2 million people were displaced. The first factor aggravating flooding is climate change, which has been shown to contribute to more extreme storms and rainfall. Across Africa, major rivers - such as Nile, Niger, Benue, Orange, Zambezi – are responsible for dangerous floods. Nigeria needs to take measures to cope with flooding. Rapid response systems, flood data gathering and modelling, proper urban and spatial planning, flood emergency preparedness are needed.