Floods from north to south, alarm for crops

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Not only hundreds of thousands displaced, but also, and above all, sky high food prices will affect millions of families: missionaries in Central Nigeria told MISNA, in regard to the consequences of what the local media defines as the worst flooding in 40 years.

“The cost of rice, beans and basic necessities has soared in the regions where the rains were less intense”, said to MISNA Father Donald Fennessy, vicar general of the Lafia diocese, capital of the Nasarawa State. The high prices are also due to the inaccessibility of main connection routes, such as the bridge at the confluence between the Niger and Benue Rivers, which has been flooded for weeks. “Concerns are high also over the terrible crop predictions of the next weeks”, added Fr. Donald.

Based on estimates of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the flooding has displaced 1.3 million Nigerians and left 431 dead. Also 152,575 hectares of farmland have been destroyed so far. Some 30 of Nigeria’s 36 States have been affected, from the north-east to the borders of the Sahel in the oil-rich south-east.

On a visit to a primary school turned into a displaced camp in the outskirts of Lokoja, capital of the central Kogi State, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan called it a “national disaster”.

“Our major problem here is that we don’t have accommodation for all the victims. They are crammed into this small school”, Red Cross coordinator of the camp, Jubril Ebiloma, said to the President as families squeezed together in a classroom behind her. [VG/BO]