The 2012 Nigeria floods began in early July 2012, and as of 5 November 2012 killed 363 people and displaced over 2.1 million people . According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), 30 of Nigeria’s 36 states were affected by the floods. The floods were termed as the worst in 40 years, and affected an estimated total of seven million people. The estimated damages and losses caused by the floods were N2.6 trillion.
Nigeria has a rainy season and suffers from seasonal flash floods. They are sometimes lethal, especially in the rural areas and overcrowded slums, where drainage is poor or does not exist at all.
2012 NIGERIAN FLOODS: BEGINNING
On 2 July 2012, many Nigerian coastal and inland cities experienced heavy rains, and residents of Lagos, particularly those residing on the island part of Lagos, were “gasping for breath” due to the flooding In addition, there was gridlock on major roads, causing people to cancel or postpone appointments they may have had.
Thousands of stranded commuters had to pay increased fares for the few bus drivers who were willing to risk travelling on the roads, and construction of work by the Nigerian government on the inner Oke-Afa Road took a “heavy toll.”
In mid-July 2012, flooding in the Ibadan metropolis caused some residents at Challenge, Oke-Ayo, and Eleyele to flee from their residences and save their lives. The flooding also prevented some Christians from attending churches in the morning, while a few bridges caved in.
The Nigerian government said that certain structures on waterways had to be demolished as a result of the flooding, while Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Bosun Oladele, announced that there weren’t any casualties from the flooding.
In late July 2012, at least 39 people were killed due to flooding in the central Nigerian Plateau State. Heavy rainfall caused the Lamingo dam to overflow near Jos, sweeping across a number of neighborhoods in Jos, and approximately 200 homes were either submerged or destroyed. In addition, at least 35 people were declared missing, while Manasie Phampe, the head of the Red Cross in the state, announced that relief efforts were ongoing. The floods left 3,000 people homeless.
In mid-August, flooding killed at least 33 people in Plateau State, and co-ordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency in central Nigeria Abdussalam Muhammad said that homes were destroyed while roads and bridges were washed away, obstructing relief efforts. Over 12,000 people were affected by the flooding in six districts of the state, while hundreds were rendered homeless.
Release of water from the Lagdo Reservoir in Cameroon caused the deaths of 30 people in Benue State during the 2012 flooding.
SPREAD OF THE FLOODS AND AFTERMATH
In early-October, the floods spread to Delta State and Bayelsa State and rendered about 120,000 people homeless, according to state authorities and the Nigerian Red Cross. Several temporary displacement sites set up were also flooded forcing people to flee. In Yenagoa, 3,000 people were sleeping at the Ovom State Sports Complex.
In Delta State, among the buildings destroyed by the floods were 20 health clinics, five hospitals, many schools, churches and government buildings. Schools were either closed or occupied by internally displaced persons. The floods also spread across Benue State where a local river overflowed causing the displacement of over 25,000 people.
On 9 October, the Nigerian President at the time, Goodluck Jonathan released 17.6 billion naira to various states and agencies for damage response, flood relief and rehabilitation.
Kogi State was the worst affected with 623,900 people being displaced and 152,575 hectares of farmland destroyed, according to a NEMA coordinator. Jonathan called the floods “a national disaster”.
By Oluwamayowa Akinyemi
Oluwamayowa Akinyemi is a digital and web content developer with experience in web content development and management as well as research and writing. He is an avid reader of random subject matters and a sucker for movies and video games. He is also passionate about youth empowerment and is a global affairs analyst and enthusiast.