Nigeria rice farmer Adamu Garba squelched barefoot through his paddy fields, surveying
damage from devastating floods that have destroyed farmland across the north of the country.
Parts of West and central Africa have been battered by floods ravaging farms like Garba’s rice
plots, wiping out crops and risking worsening food insecurity in a region already struggling with
economic fallout from the Ukraine war.
Just in Nigeria, constant heavy rains caused the worst flooding in a decade, killing more than 300
people since the start of the rainy season and displacing at least 100 000, according to emergency
“It is devastating but there is nothing we can do, we just have to be strong,” Garba told AFP at
his farm near the city of Kano, where he normally harvests 200 bags of rice.
“Now in the condition we find ourselves we are not sure we will harvest half a bag here.”
Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesman Manzo Ezekiel said
flooding has been unprecedented due to continuous rainfall with 29 of the country’s 36 states
“Thousands of farmlands have also been destroyed. The figures will rise further because we are
still experiencing torrential rains and flooding,” he said.
Flood waters were made worse partly by neighbouring Cameroon’s release of excess waters from
a dam and by Nigeria releasing waters to ease pressure on its Kainji and Jebba dams, Ezekiel
However, an official with Eneo, operator of Cameroon’s Lagdo hydro-electricity plant, said
excess waters released from the dam contributed only a small amount to flooding.
Parts of Nigeria, from northern farmlands to the coastal economic capital Lagos, are prone to
flooding in the rainy season, though NEMA says this year is the worst since 2012, when 363
people died and more than 2.1 million were displaced.
The Niger river – West Africa’s main river – flows through northern Niger past Benin’s northern
border into Nigeria before reaching in the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic through southern
Nigeria’s Niger Delta.
Heavy rains falling in Niger since June and the severe floods have claimed 159 lives and affected
more than 225 000 people, making this rainy season one of the deadliest in history, emergency
officials said earlier this month.
“According to our studies, we can link these rains to climate change in general,” said Katiellou
Gaptia Lawan, Director General of National Meteorology of Niger.
“The rains are becoming more and more intense and the extreme precipitation is increasing.”