According to the United Nations agency UNICEF, more than 2.5 million people in Nigeria are in need of humanitarian assistance, most of them children. UNICEF has warned that 60 percent of those affected are children and are at high risk of water-borne diseases, drowning and malnutrition due to the worst floods in a decade.
Due to floods, 34 out of 36 states of the country have been affected and 1.3 million people have been displaced. More than 600 people have lost their lives due to floods and more than 200,000 houses have been partially or completely damaged. According to UNICEF, cases of diarrhea and water-borne diseases, respiratory infections and skin diseases are increasing.
By October 12, 7,485 cases of cholera had been reported and 319 people had died in the northeastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe alone. As the rains will continue for a few weeks, it is estimated that the humanitarian needs will also increase. “Children and adolescents in flood-affected areas are extremely vulnerable,” said Christian Munduet, UNICEF’s representative for Nigeria.
“They are particularly vulnerable to water-borne diseases and emotional and psychological distress. UNICEF is working with governments and other partners to provide life-saving assistance to those most in need. The floods are adding another layer of complexity to the already precarious humanitarian situation in the country. Immediate priority needs for children include shelter and food, along with health, water, sanitation and hygiene. To address the growing needs and sustain ongoing humanitarian interventions, additional funding and resources are needed to focus on the most vulnerable, including children with disabilities.
According to UNICEF’s Children’s Climate Risk Index (CCRI), Nigeria is at “very high risk” of the effects of climate change. The United Nations agency says children in ‘very high-risk’ countries face a deadly combination of climate and environmental problems, as well as high levels of inherent child vulnerability due to inadequate essential services such as water, sanitation, health care and education. (RASS/ANI)