Flood waters break bank to flood a road close to a river in Lokoja Flood waters break bank to flood a road close to a river in Lokoja 

Pope prays for victims of devastating floods in Nigeria

Pope Francis prays for Nigeria, where devastating floods have killed over 600 people and caused tremendous damage to property and critical infrastructure.

By Benedict Mayaki, SJ

During the General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis extended his thoughts towards Nigeria, which is experiencing its worst flooding in a decade, with vast areas of farmland, infrastructure, and homes fully or partly destroyed.

“I think of the violent rains that have fallen on their country [Nigeria] in these days, causing flooding, numerous deaths, and tremendous damage,” Pope Francis said while greeting the English-speaking faithful.

He also invited everyone to pray for all who have lost their lives and for everyone affected by the devastating natural disaster.

“May these, our brothers and sisters, experience our solidarity and the support of the international community,” the Pope said.

Flooding in Nigeria

According to Nigeria’s Emergency Management Agency, dangerous floods are wreaking havoc in 31 of the country’s 36 states, and have affected more than 2 million people.

Reports say that over 600 people have died and over 1.4 million have been displaced. Meanwhile, rains are still expected for a while longer in some states, with the possibility of more flooding.

Images and photos online show citizens climbing to higher ground to escape the floods, while many have resorted to boats and canoes to salvage a few belongings and flee the flooded areas for their lives.

Nigerian authorities have begun to distribute food and other emergency aid to disaster-stricken areas, but the floods are making aid distribution difficult.

Meanwhile, the release of water from a dam in northern Cameroon that causes flooding downstream in Nigeria has reportedly contributed to the flooding. The released water cascades down through River Benue and its tributaries, thereby overwhelming communities that have already been impacted by heavy rainfall.

In addition, experts believe that another critical contributing factor to flooding is climate change. The UN warned last year that Nigeria was at risk of suffering from the effects of climate change as rainfalls become more severe. More so, the 2020 national climate policy document alerted about the adverse effects of the country’s exposure to severe climate events.

Nigeria, by far the most populous country in Africa, is heavily dependent on agriculture. The disastrous floods worsen fears of food supply disruptions as large swathes of arable farmland have been submerged and critical infrastructure such as roads have been destroyed.

Thank you for reading our article. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to our daily newsletter. Just click here

19 October 2022, 09:30