Rainy season flooding across Nigeria has killed more than 100 people, as water poured over the banks of the West African country’s two major rivers, and into numerous cities and towns.
Officials prepared on Monday to declare a natural disaster, which would allow for the mobilization of military and other resources to 12 states that have been badly affected. President Muhammadu Buhari has authorized the equivalent of $8.2 million to aid relief efforts.
Over the weekend, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency reported that the Benue and Niger Rivers were close to reaching levels that in 2012 led to floods that killed more than 350 people and wiped out scores of homes, farms and other property.
Seasonal flooding is a scourge in many communities in Nigeria and elsewhere across the region, where a growing population, lax control of new construction and a lack of good drainage infrastructure are colliding. Nigeria is by far the most populous country in Africa, but the flooding so far this year has mostly been in rural areas.
In Lagos, the most populous city in Nigeria and on the entire continent, streets become rivers during the rainy season as sewage channels and drainage systems are overwhelmed during downpours. The phenomenon is repeated across numerous communities in West Africa, where traffic and business come to a standstill for hours or days, waiting for the streets to drain. Sometimes the flooding becomes deadly.
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SOURCE: New York Times, Dionne Searcey