Nearly 200 people have died in floods caused by heavy seasonal rains across 12 states in Nigeria after the main Niger and Benue rivers burst their banks, said the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) yesterday.
A national disaster has been declared in several Central and Southern states including Kogi, where the two rivers meet, and Niger, plus Delta and Anambra in the South.
NEMA, the country's main relief agency, said in its latest report that 'large-scale flooding' since late last month impacted 826,403 people. Out of those, 286,119 have become homeless.
The numbers were expected to rise, and more rain is expected in the coming weeks, the report added.
Shelter, food, medicine and other items such as mosquito nets were 'priority needs', it said.
The floods have not only devastated towns and villages along the rivers but also destroyed crops and killed livestock, said the Secretary-General of Nigerian Red Cross, Abubakar Kende.
Kende, further, warned, "One of our biggest concerns following extensive floods like this is the threat of cholera and other diseases."
Lack of sanitation, health care, and clean water could have deadly consequences, he said.
The United Nations last weekend said there had been more than 3,000 recorded cases of cholera and 97 deaths in the northeast Nigerian states of Borno and Yobe in the past two weeks alone.
In the wider Lake Chad region comprising Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, more than 500 people have died from the water-borne disease since the start of the year.
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