At least 40 people have lost their lives and more than 2 million tons of rice crops – a quarter of the country's projected harvest – have been lost as northwestern Nigerian state Jigawa reels from its worst flood in 32 years, according to the Jigawa State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).
- Officials could not give the exact number of farmlands and houses that were destroyed by the flood but said the damage is unprecedented.
- Due to the massive loss of rice, officials fear that the situation may worsen the country's food insufficiency and lead to a further price hike.
40 people have died in about 19 local government areas since the beginning of the rainy season, with the Hadejia Emirate as the worst affected, SEMA executive secretary Sani Yusuf told Premium Times.
The areas badly hit were Buji, Ringim, Taura, Jahun, Miga, Malammadori, Auyo, Kafinhausa, Guri, as well as Gwaram, Kiyawa, Kaugama, Birninkudu, kirikasamma, Garki, and Babura.
"These are the number of deaths so far reported to the agency since the beginning of this rainy season."
Yusuf added that with federal government support, SEMA is exerting efforts to assist flood victims by providing emergency needs. So far, the agency has distributed 30 canoes to inundated communities, as well as materials to build embankments to control the floods.
Hamza Muhammad, the special assistant to Governor Muhammad Badaru on community development and social inclusion, noted that this year's flood is the worst since 1988.
Officials fear that the situation could worsen Nigeria's food insufficiency, which has resulted in a price hike of basic food like rice. Farmers have already lost more than two million tons of rice in the floods– a quarter of the country's projected harvest.
Muhammad added that grains like millet, maize, and sorghum were also lost in floods.
Officials could not give the exact number of farmlands and houses that were destroyed by the flood but said the damage is unprecedented.
"Since when I started farming, I have never experienced intensive cultivation of rice like now, because a lot of people are into rice farming. But unfortunately, we experienced this intensive flooding that we are still experiencing now, and farmers are now counting losses because 90 percent of our farmers have lost what they have cultivated," said farmer Ibrahim Abdullahi.
Kebbi, the country's biggest rice-producing state, had projected 2.5 million tons this year, but heavy rains in September washed away two million tons.
"If rain has already washed away all the farm products, you know the goods will be rising up [in price] because the little one they have on the ground – they will make sure they recover [the value of] the one that the water moves away. And, so they’ll double the price," said local rice miller Mohammad Auana.
Featured image credit: Doris Great/YouTube
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