Nigerian President Announces Aid for Flooded Areas

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said the government will provide aid to areas hit by flooding that has left tens of thousands of people homeless and that the Nigerian Red Cross said threatens to spark a cholera outbreak.

In a broadcast to the nation today, Jonathan pledged to provide affected states and emergency agencies with 17.6 billion naira ($112 million). The government will give 4.3 billion naira to other agencies, such as the Ministry of Works and the National Emergency Management Agency, he said.

The floods caused “massive destruction of property, farmland and infrastructure across the country,” Jonathan said. “It’s sad that this global phenomena of devastating floods has come to Nigeria.”

Flooding caused by heavy rainfall in the West African nation worsened after hydro-power dams on the Niger River, Nigeria’s largest river, opened sluice gates to let out water to prevent them from collapsing, Anthony Anuforo, director-general of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, said on Sept. 26. Large swaths of farmland were inundated, Environment Minister Hadiza Mailafa said the same day.

The flooding left at least 148 people dead and 64,000 displaced in 21 Nigerian states, Nwakpa O. Nwakpa, the spokesman for the Nigerian Red Cross Society, said today in an e-mailed statement.

Waterborne Diseases

“An estimated 134,000 people have now been affected by the floods and concern is growing about the spread of waterborne diseases such as cholera,” the Nigerian Red Cross said in the statement.

The agency is providing water purification tablets and oral rehydration salts to try and prevent an outbreak of gastroenteritis, said Bello Hamman Diram, the agency’s secretary-general.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are appealing for donations to assist 10,000 people affected by the flooding, according to the statement.

The water is currently moving southwards through the Niger River delta region, so bulk of the flooding should end “in most areas” by the end of the month, Emenike Umesi, a coordinator for the National Emergency Management Agency in the region, said by phone today.

“As of date, the floods have not adversely affected oil production in Nigeria,” Africa’s largest-oil producer, Fidel Pepple, a spokesman for state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., said in an e-mailed response to questions.

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