Torrential rains swamp Nigeria’s largest city
|Flooding has killed scores and dealt heavy blows to infrastructure in the southwest Nigerian city of Ibadan [Reuters]|
Floods in the southwest Nigerian city of Ibadan have killed at least 102 people over the weekend, with bodies still being recovered from the scene, the Nigeria Red Cross said.
More corpses were recovered from affected areas on Monday and the Red Cross said the final figure of deaths could rise.
“the death toll for now…is 102,” said Umar Mairiga, disaster management coordinator for the Nigerian Red Cross Society.
About 2,000 people have been displaced by the floods in the city, which lies about 120km north of the commercial capital Lagos, the official added.
In Lagos itself, an ocean surge has left more than 1,000 residents in the Alpha beach area homeless.
Strong tides from the Atlantic ocean have destroyed property and shops along the beach, which is normally a tourist attraction but is now littered with debris and wreckage.
Moshood Alayaki, a resident, said the rising water had destroyed many livehoods.
The area regularly experiences seasonal flash floods, which are sometimes lethal in Nigeria’s overcrowded slums.
“All of our properties are damaged. We have a shop there we are selling drinks, we have a lot of customers,” he said.
“Look at our road, everything is spoilt. Since I was born, I don’t have any idea that the water will spoil like this.”
Desmond Majekodunmi, an environmental activist, explained that hurricane Irene, which killed dozens when it hit the Caribbean and the US east coast over the weekend, might have had an impact on weather across the Atlantic.
“This is the storm season and you have what is called the ripple effect, so there’s a strong possibility that the huge waves that were stirred up in the various arenas of the ocean where you’re having these hurricanes and so on would eventually cause more larger ocean surge,” he said.
Prince Adesegun Oniru, the Commissioner for Water Front and Infrastructure Development in Lagos, also blamed the high waves and tides raised by Irene for the ocean surge.
“It’s happening because right now around the world, particularly in the Caribbean, we have cyclones going on, the hurricane Irene and what we’re getting here in this part of the world is the ripple effect,” he said.
He urged people to stay away from the coastal area to avoid being harmed.
“All we can do is to tell our people to move away from the coastal area and to stay away from the Atlantic,” he said.
The Lagos state government is taking measures to control the situation by putting beach guards in watch towers to monitor the situation.