Flood-hit Nigeria waits for aid

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has said his government will release about $100 million in response to the flooding in the country. Photo by: Commonwealth Secretariat / CC BY-NC-ND

Several international organizations have launched aid appeals to help victims of flooding in Nigeria. The latest: A $38 million request from a U.N. humanitarian agency.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released Friday (Nov. 9) a response plan for the African country, which includes provisions for water and sanitation. Apart from food insecurity, humanitarian agencies fear a possible spread of waterborne diseases.

The flooding has led Nigerians to get water from unprotected sources, and defecate in the open, according to UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado, Sapa-AFP reports.

The appeal comes as heavier than usual rains that started in July have inundated large parts of the country, affecting some 7.7 million people. A total of 363 people have died from the disaster, according to Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency.

The government has said it will be releasing 17.6 billion Nigerian Naira ($110 million) in response to the flooding, and will soon receive 52 million yen ($654,000) worth of emergency relief supplies from the Japanese government. It has also set up a presidential committee on flood relief and rehabilitation tasked to help raise funds for flood victims. Companies providing donations will receive tax incentives, President Goodluck Jonathan said at a Nov. 8 fundraising dinner.

The committee has so far raised about 11 billion Nigerian Naira for the cause. It is not immediately clear if nongovernmental organizations will also have access to the funds. But an OCHA emergency response team and a separate humanitarian country team are already working with NEMA and the government’s flood committee in assessing the flood’s impact, according to IRIN.

It remains to be seen how donors will respond to the crisis, given several disasters affecting other countries. A 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit Myanmar just this Sunday, and Guatemala suffered another quake  albeit lower in magnitude  the same day.

The disaster in Nigeria “caught everyone off-guard,” UNICEF’s Olusoji Adebowale Adeniyi said, according to IRIN. “Never before has there been a disaster of this scale or magnitude,” Oxfam’s deputy regional humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria Dierdre McArdle said.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.