The death toll from the worst flooding Nigeria has seen in a decade has passed 600 people, the country’s humanitarian affairs ministry tweeted on Sunday.
According to the ministry, more than 2 million people have been affected by flooding that has spread across parts of the country’s south after a particularly wet rainy season.
More than 200,000 homes have been completely or partially damaged, the ministry added.
Earlier this month, Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency warned of catastrophic flooding for states located along the courses of the Niger and Benue rivers, noting that three of Nigeria’s overfilled reservoirs were expected to overflow. NEMA said the release of excess water from a dam in neighboring Cameroon had contributed to the flooding.
While many parts of Nigeria are prone to yearly floods, flooding in certain areas has been more severe than the last major floods in 2012, a Red Cross official in Kogi told CNN last week.
Nigeria’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Sadiya Umar Farouq warned Sunday that more flooding was likely and urged regional governments to prepare accordingly.
“We are calling on the respective State Governments, Local Government Councils and Communities to prepare for more flooding by evacuating people living on flood plains to high grounds, provide tents and relief materials, fresh water as well as medical supplies for a possible outbreak of water-borne diseases,” the ministry of humanitarian affairs said on Twitter Sunday.
The country will soon implement its National Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan, aimed at improving coordination of the flood response efforts.
According to the ministry, “relief has gone to every state of the federation,” and “many state governments did not prepare for the floods.”
A delegation organized by the ministry will be visiting state governors across the country to suggest strengthening states’ flood response mechanisms.