Floods are submerging whole houses in Nigeria. At least 80 have died trying to escape the rising waters. The state of Katsina, which was one of the world’s poorest, was also devastated in 1998 by floods that killed around 1,200 people. Now it has suffered its worst to date, as the waters have completely submerged a village, with nearly all of the residents killed, including two daughters of the area’s local chief.
The Nigerian government’s response was swift and decisive, and the government is appealing for help from NGOs to provide food, clean water and medicines for victims. While the government’s plan to flood the area to make way for a new dam was initially welcomed, it has proven a disaster in more ways than one, with some families of the survivors who lost their homes as a result of the flooding asking for compensation from the government.
The area affected by the flooding is in the Nigerian state of Katsina, and the flooding is due to the construction of the Ikari dam, which has been dubbed “the dam on the Niger”, since it creates a reservoir that can flood large stretches of the region.
The Ikari dam is the largest in the world by volume, with over 50,000 cubic meters of water behind it. The government plan to fill the reservoir with an estimated 7.5 billion cubic meters of water, creating a dam larger than any in the world.
The flooding has led to the world’s most powerful dam now reaching a point of no return. The floods have destroyed farmland that has supported farmers in the area for thousands of years.
One of the most devastating aspects of the flooding has been its immediate impact on the children.
A group of mothers, grandmothers and children have been gathering for three days to beg for clean water to protect their remaining children in the affected area, where the water levels have risen to four feet above flood stage.