Months ago, we wrote about a United Nations warning that more than 100 million “extremely poor” people across Africa are threatened by accelerating climate change and that “By 2030, it is estimated that up to 118 million people will be exposed to drought, floods, and extreme heat in Africa if adequate response measures are not put in place. It is 2022, but we are already feeling the impact of climate change in many states in Nigeria – and heavily too.
What is the problem?
We have experienced flooding on many levels in the past few years, but in recent months, many states have been hit by the worst case of flooding we have seen. From Anambra to Kogi, Bayelsa, Benue, Rivers, Delta, Adamawa, Niger, Katsina, Nasarawa, Jigawa, and many more states, floods are sweeping away homes, sabotaging the economy, ruining properties and lives and leaving people displaced. Houses are being submerged, farmlands are being destroyed, highways are collapsing and people are left stranded on the road. Schools are being shut down, infrastructure is being destroyed and people are losing their lives and means of livelihood daily. The poorest communities are the most hit by this disaster and are further plunged into poverty.
In September, the federal government, through Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), sent a warning to 13 states susceptible to flooding. Barely one month after, This Day has reported that 500 persons have now died, 45,249 houses have been totally destroyed and 70,566 hectares of farmlands have been damaged. VOA also reports that 1.4 million people have been displaced so far in the worst flooding Nigeria has experienced in a decade. This is a very big deal!
VIDEO: Commuters stranded as flood cuts road into two in Bayelsa pic.twitter.com/gjn2gnl09Q
— The Nation Nigeria (@TheNationNews) October 14, 2022
Right now, we all can agree that Lokoja flood is under reported. pic.twitter.com/3cGCHtYTcb
— EbiraConnect (@EbiraConnect) October 1, 2022
Lokoja the capital city of Kogi state is experiencing the worse flood ever, and body is saying anything. 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/g5m75uQ078
— Musa Joshua (@iam_mrjosh) October 4, 2022
My Twitter family, this is my community Biseni kingdom in Bayelsa state.we are suffering, Biseni is the worst affected, pls we need help, palliative support from the govt. My family is displaced.😭🙏 In Akenfa, The east west road will soon be blocked as well. Please help🙏 pic.twitter.com/1aAzoDfACk
— Tarila Agbafor (@Tarizz5) October 12, 2022
— Ellena12🗡️ Peter obi's Daughter (@Ellenaoma) October 12, 2022
My situation right now pic.twitter.com/IGLxL8D2np
— Atina John (@johnatina19) October 9, 2022
What Can You and I do?
This situation reminds us to take the issues of climate change very seriously, come together and pull our weight to mitigate its effects. We may be experiencing the worst form of flooding but all hope is not lost. If you have been thinking of how to extend a helping hand to the flood victims, but you’re not sure of how you can help, we’ve got you!
First things first, lend your voice
One way to help victims is to not be silent in these trying times. The more people are aware, the more they are inclined to be of help. Lend your voice on social media, share the news with your contact, and talk about it.
Donate, donate, donate
People have started calling for donations. Now, you can make monetary contributions to help those affected by the flood. Please ensure that you do your due diligence before making donations.
— Gesare Chife (@gechife) October 11, 2022
— magnifiquedude (@magnificdude) October 7, 2022
— sesorafrica (@sesorafrica) September 1, 2017
You can also set up a GoFundMe so people can make donations to help the victims.
Provide relief materials
So many people have been displaced and have had their properties destroyed by the floods. They currently need shelter, food, and clothing to get by for the meantime. If you can, reach out to the victims or through NGOs to provide them with temporary relief materials – Clothing, food items, shelter, toiletries, and so on – to keep them afloat.
Be Involved in Governance
Be it at the grassroots or national level, it is important for all of us to be involved in governance and policy-making, especially on issues affecting the climate, our environment, and the lives and properties of all Nigerians. As the election draws near, it is important to ask salient questions: what are the candidates saying about climate change? What are their plans for preventing/mitigating its risks? What can we all do to protect the planet and people?
Form daily environmental-friendly habits
Climate change is here to stay, but our little daily actions can help reduce its impact. When you drink water, do not fling the empty plastic into the gutters. Do not litter the road with nylons, eggshells, and so on. Don’t empty your bin into flowing water.
Our ‘little’ daily habits seem inconsequential, but that bottle of Fanta you just threw into the gutter would join hundreds or thousands more, block waterways and potentially lead to erosion or flooding. Proper waste disposal is important in mitigating the risks of climate change. Practice it today.