Nairobi/Abuja, 26 September 2018 – Floods and torrential rain have swept through many parts of Nigeria, creating a worrying breeding ground for cholera and other water-borne diseases.
Abubakar Kende, Secretary General of the Nigerian Red Cross said:
“One of our biggest concerns following extensive floods like this is the threat of cholera and other diseases. Sanitation facilities are damaged, health services are disrupted, and water sources are contaminated. Another risk factor is that people who have been displaced do not have access to sanitation facilities. This could have deadly consequences.”
More than 140 people have died, hundreds more injured and thousands are displaced after Nigeria’s two major rivers – Niger River and Benue River – burst, devastating communities nestled near their banks. It has decimated crops and killed livestock – a critical source of income and livelihood for families in the worst affected areas. Twenty-seven displacement camps have been set up across the worst affected states where the risk of a flare-up of diseases is high.
Nigeria has already been fighting a cholera outbreak – over 27,900 suspected cases have been reported between January and September across the country and more than 3,000 cases have been recorded in the states of Yobe and Borno in just the past two weeks alone.
A combination of floods and cholera, as well as the frequency of disasters across Nigeria make affected people much more vulnerable.
Dr Michael Charles, acting Head of IFRC’s office for West Coast said:
“The communities that have been affected are prone to flood disasters almost on an annual basis. In addition to responding to the current crisis, we need to build their capacity to respond to future shocks.”
Since the onset of the flooding, local Red Cross volunteers from neighbouring communities supported by expert staff have been conducting search and rescue efforts, psychosocial support and first aid to the many who have fled their homes.
This week, the Nigerian Red Cross is also distributing food, hygiene and sanitation items, blankets, sleeping mats and kitchen sets to more than 600 displaced people in Kogi state.
Red Cross is ramping up its response and prevention efforts and has launched an Emergency Appeal, seeking 5,425,000 Swiss francs to support 300,000 people with emergency assistance water, sanitation and hygiene; food security and livelihoods; health and protection services.