Saturday, February 15, 2014

Lingering hardship after Nigeria floods

IRIN: Residents displaced by the 2012 deluge in Nigeria’s Kogi State have by now returned to their villages, where the lingering destruction and scarcity of food have increased hardship. But the struggle to recover has also inspired agricultural transformation.

The floods were the country’s worst in four decades. Some seven million people across Nigeria were affected in 2012. Kogi State, where the River Niger and the River Benue merge, was the most devastated, with around 1.3 million people affected, roads cut off and homes, farms and food stocks swept away.

The authorities say that the magnitude of the floods was unprecedented and long-term measures to ease the impact are costly and complicated. Nine out of 21 local government areas in Kogi State were badly affected by the floods, with the rural, low-lying locality of Ibaji being the hardest hit.

In the isolated villages of Ibaji, many houses are slanted from the force of the floodwater, and their mud walls have been washed away, exposing a mesh of sticks and poles. Others have completely collapsed, with the roofs sitting on the ground.

Farmers are struggling to improve food stocks amid complaints that government support has been meagre, while a flood warning last year discouraged farmers from large-scale cultivation...

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