Flooding: UNICEF warns that 1.5 million Nigerian children are at risk of waterborne diseases .

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has warned that 1.5 million children in Nigeria are at risk of waterborne diseases and emotional/psychological distress, following the flooding incidents across the country which has left 2.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. 

UNICEF disclosed this in a statement on Friday, citing that of the 2.5 million Nigerians affected by the flooding, 60% are children. 

UNICEF noted it has supported the government response in three affected states namely Jigawa, Niger, and Kaduna, including through the provision of cash assistance and distribution of cholera kits. 

What the organisation said: 

UNICEF noted that more than 2.5 million people in Nigeria need humanitarian assistance of which 60% of which are children. Among the dangers faced by the children are waterborne diseases, malnutrition and potential drowning.

The organisation noted that the floods, which have affected 34 out of the 36 states in the country, have displaced 1.3 million people. Part of the statement said:

“Over 600 people have lost their lives and over 200,000 houses have either been partially or fully damaged. Cases of diarrhoea and water-borne diseases, respiratory infection, and skin diseases have already been on the rise. In the northeastern states of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe alone, a total of 7,485 cases of cholera and 319 associated deaths were reported as of 12 October. As rains are expected to continue for several weeks, humanitarian needs are also expected to rise. 

“Children and adolescents in flood-affected areas are in an extremely vulnerable situation,” said Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria. They are particularly at risk of waterborne diseases and emotional and psychological distress. UNICEF is working closely with the Government and other partners to provide life-saving assistance to those who are most in need.”  

The statement added floods are adding another layer of complexity to an already precarious humanitarian situation in the country and urged that the immediate priority needs be met for children, including health, water, sanitation, and hygiene.

What you should know 

Nairametrics reported that The Federal Government said there is no need to declare a state of emergency over the tragic flooding incidents across the country. 

Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu said the various emergency agencies across the country are not yet overwhelmed by the disaster. 

The Minister also disagreed with assertions by some people that the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon had been a major cause of the flooding, saying that the release of water from the Dam “plays a very little role” in the current disaster, citing the main cause of the flooding was unprecedented rainfall, noting that the rainfall in the Northeast had been four times above the normal average.