Since early July, heavy rains in Nigeria have caused severe flooding that has displaced thousands of families, destroyed crops and made transporting goods to communities extremely difficult. Most of Nigeria’s 37 states have been affected and more than 30 communities are completely submerged. The hardest hit communities are in the area around the Niger and Benue Rivers. According to Nigerian Red Cross, 148 people have been killed, 64,000 displaced, and over 130,000 affected. The Nigerian government and other agencies are working to set up camps for those that had to leave their homes. The floods also increased the risk of cholera and other waterborne diseases, but thus far no outbreak has been reported.
Last week, the American Red Cross deployed a relief/shelter specialist as part of the International Federation’s Field Assessment and Coordination Team, a multi-national team that is working closely with the Nigerian Red Cross to support ongoing assessment and planning for the response operation. This specialist is supporting the distribution of emergency items and planning for emergency shelters.