Widespread flooding has killed more than 500 people in Nigeria, left around 90,000 homes under water and blocked food and fuel supplies, two government ministries said on Friday.
The floods have hit 27 of Nigeria’s 36 states and impacted around 1.4 million people, the ministries for humanitarian affairs and for disaster management said in an online posting.
Nigerian authorities said flooding caused by heavier than usual rains had been building since early summer and intensified after water releases from the Lagdo dam in neighbouring Cameroon.
“The scale of the disaster …is colossal,” Mustapha Habib Ahmed, director general of the National Emergency Management Agency, added in a statement.
On Thursday, drone footage in Lokoja – which sits in the north-central Kogi state at the confluence of the Niger and Benue rivers and has suffered weeks of flooding – showed dozens of submerged homes and businesses.
“I have never seen such a thing,” resident Khalid Yahaya Othman told Reuters as he looked at his submerged fuel tanks and nearby waterlogged streets.
“When this water was coming, we never envisaged that it will come and over cover the tank,” he said
State oil company NNPC blamed the floods, which blocked a key road out of Lokoja, for a fuel shortage in the capital, Abuja.
Federal Road Safety official Koton Karfe said the floods had impeded traffic for at least two weeks.
Cameroonian power company Eneo said last month it would release water from the dam in September and October after its reservoir hit 91% capacity.