Source: Google U.K. Edition
Okechukwu Onwuma still remembers the painful day heavy floods destroyed his small farm in southern Nigeria’s Delta State.
“It was in November 2012, and the flood didn’t spare anything in this community,” the 45-year-old said, hunched over a small heap of yam on his farm, near Oko-Amakom. “Farmers cried bitterly, and nobody helped us,” he said. “The water covered our farmlands and homes, and displaced thousands of people.”
Flooding is a recurrent problem in Nigeria, particularly in the southern states where the Benue and Niger rivers converge.
In 2012, unprecedented levels of flooding affected 30 of the country’s 36 states, causing damage estimated by the government at $16.9 billion. Rivers overflowed their banks, washing away farmland, settlements, and crucial infrastructure. By mid-October, at least 431 people were dead and 1.3 million displaced from their homes.
“The flood destroyed our entire farmland and submerged my cassava, yam, maize and peanut crops,” 80-year-old Alice Daniel told IRIN at her farm, which is nearly two kilometres away from the Niger River.
Three years later, in 2015, floods in Cross River State displaced more than 1,200 families and destroyed 4,500 farms in some southern coastal communities. In the north of the country, 53 people died and more than 100,000 were displaced that year by floods.