About 500 people have been killed and 1.4 million displaced from their homes in Nigeria’s worst floods in a decade after the start of the rainy season, according to the government.
Poor infrastructure and heavy rain have caused the foods to affect vast swathes of Africa’s most populous country. The floods have sparked fears that it will worsen food insecurity and inflation.
Nigeria’s Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs said Tuesday that “over 1.4 million persons were displaced, about 500 persons have been reported dead […] and 1,546 persons were injured”.
“Similarly, 45,249 houses were totally damaged… while 70,566 hectares of farmlands were completely destroyed,” added the statement from the ministry’s Deputy Director Information, Rhoda Ishaku Iliya.
National Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Manzo Ezekiel said on Wednesday the latest figures were from last weekend.
While the rainy season usually begins around June, most deaths and displacements started “around August and September,” Ezekiel added.
“We are taking all the necessary actions to bring relief to the people affected by the flood,” said Humanitarian Affairs ministry official Nasir Sani-Gwarzo.
More heavy rains are expected in the coming weeks and months as the rainy season typically ends in November and in December in the south.
Floods were also caused by the release of water from several damns, a process that was meant to prevent excessive flooding.
Rice producers have warned that floods could impact negatively prices in the country of some 200 million people where rice imports are banned to stimulate local production.
The World Food Program and the U.N.’s food and agriculture organization said last month that Nigeria was among six countries facing high risk of catastrophic levels of hunger.