Nearly a quarter of a million households in Nigeria are at risk after heavy rains caused flooding that has inundated more than half the country.

The rainfall began in July and has continued into September, causing Nigeria’s two main rivers – the Niger and the Benue – to burst their banks. The resulting disaster is affecting 34 of the country’s 36 states and has caused 141 deaths and 265 injuries to date.

The Government of Nigeria has declared a state of emergency in the four worst-affected states of Kogi, Niger, Anambra and Delta. The Nigerian Red Cross Society is conducting rapid assessments in coordination with the country’s National Emergency Management Agency.

As well as the risk of further deaths and injuries, and damage to livelihoods and infrastructure, the Nigerian Red Cross is warning of a steep rise in the number of diarrhoea cases in Kogi, Niger, Anambra and Delta.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an emergency appeal on behalf of the Nigerian Red Cross, seeking 5,425,000 Swiss francs to support 300,000 of the most vulnerable people for nine months. The operation will provide shelter and the distribution of relief items; livelihoods including cash transfers; health; water, sanitation and hygiene, and protection, gender and inclusion.