Photos and written by: Nwakpa O. Nwakpa, Nigerian Red Cross Society
Yahaya Musa sits inside his shanty temporary shelter he has constructed next to his flooded home. A few precious belongings are stacked next to the draped tarpaulin walls. He will live in this small structure with his two wives and twelve children until the water levels subside.
Musa is one of the 1.4 million people in Nigeria who has been affected by the rampaging floods that have claimed almost 200 lives and destroyed houses, farmlands and businesses.
“We lost our rice farm, fishnets and could only salvage a few household items before the flood submerged our house,” says Musa.
Amina Abdulahi also fled with her three children after her home was destroyed on the banks of the river in Kogi state. She lost everything to the flood and now lives in a shanty.
“We have no food; no place to sleep, the rain still beats us here, you can see where I sleep with my children,” says Amina.
The Nigerian Red Cross Society, with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has been responding to the urgent needs of affected communities since the flood swept through communities close to the country’s two major rivers: Benue and Niger. Red Cross volunteers have been conducting search and rescue, first aid and psychosocial support. In addition, Red Cross has provided basic items including food, sleeping mats, blankets, cooking sets and hygiene items to 600 of the most vulnerable people in Kogi state. Distributions of food and other basic items will continue in other flood-affected states.
“People have fled their homes with almost nothing – they are hungry, tired and traumatized,” says Secretary General of the Nigerian Red Cross Society, Abubakar Kende. “Our major concern right now is ensuring people have the essential items they need to keep their families safe and healthy, including shelter and other household items; access to clean water; sanitation, hygiene, food as well as protection, particularly for women and children.”
IFRC and the Nigerian Red Cross Society have launched an emergency appeal, seeking 5.4 million Swiss francs to support 300,000 people over the next 9 months. Learn more here.