ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Oshega Enok isn’t expecting much of a rice harvest from north-central Nigeria after floods have submerged his fields and those of so many other farmers this season. .
Known as the country’s “food basket,” many people in Benue are in the unusual position of looking for seedlings for next year’s farming season when the current crop should be harvested.
“The suffering we are going through right now is terrible,” Enoch said of Nigeria’s worst floods in more than a decade after more than 600 people died and 1.3 million were displaced from their homes. Told.
Above-average rainfall and devastating floods affected 5 million people in 19 countries in West and Central Africa this year, according to the World Food Program’s new Situation Report.
In Chad, the government declared a state of emergency this week after floods affected more than one million people.
Chad’s interim leader Mahamat Idriss Debbie Itono said: “This catastrophe caused by climate change is one of the most severe known in the region in the last few years and has already hit the head. is compounding the misery for communities struggling to keep water above water.
Mbaindangroa Djekornonde Adelph, an analyst in Chad, said the disaster worsened the fortunes of the Central African country, which is already experiencing food crises.
At least 600 deaths have been recorded in Nigeria, and officials in neighboring Niger have said at least 192 people died as a result of the storm, either from collapsing houses or drowning in flood waters.
The International Rescue Commission (IRC) warned in a statement on Friday that the floods had already led to a “significant rise in cholera cases and other preventable diseases in Nigeria”, and said it would step up its response. Seek more resources.
Experts point to unusual rainfall and the government’s failure to set up early warning systems to prepare for extreme weather.
West Africa’s floods are “mainly due to governments’ neglect of environmental issues such as climate change over many years,” said Ibrahim Raj, a climate researcher focused on the region. The situation “begins with the government’s reluctance to address environmental issues,” he added.
Long before the floods and Russia’s war in Ukraine, West Africa was already facing its worst food crisis in a decade, leaving more than 27 million people hungry, according to a report released in April by an international aid agency. was suffering.
Chee Rael, spokeswoman for the United Nations World Food Program in Nigeria, is concerned about a “worrying harvest season.”
Some farmers have lost nearly 75 percent of everything they planted this year, said Kabir Ibrahim, head of the local farmers association.
Flooding in Nigeria has also affected livestock in areas such as Bayelsa state. Innocent Alou said he lost nearly 10,000 poultry at his poultry farm in the floods, most of them dying from water-borne diseases.
“I feel like running away. No one can think straight,” a devastated Aru said over the phone, estimating the loss at 30 million naira ($68,600).
In neighboring Niger, flooding in the Maradi and Zander regions displaced tens of thousands of people and damaged many homes and farmlands.
There are similar stories in Cameroon, where floods have caused severe damage to northern regions, destroying crops and homes.
“This year’s rainfall has been extraordinary,” said Cameroonian climate expert Kousomna River. “It’s been raining since the beginning of the season and it’s raining all the way through August, September and now she’s in October.”
Experts fear that damaged farmland will drive food prices higher at a time when inflation is already at record highs of 20.7% and 37% in Nigeria and Ghana respectively. doing.
In Nigeria, WFP said it was providing emergency assistance in Yobe state, one of the hardest-hit areas. But the agency urgently needs him $129 million to support his operations in Nigeria over the next five months, the spokesperson said.
Contributed by Associated Press writer Joel Quam, who lives in Gaoundele, Cameroon.
Follow all AP stories on climate change issues at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment.
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https://wgnradio.com/news/international/ap-west-africa-floods-destroy-crops-worsening-hunger-fears/ Flooding in West Africa destroys crops and exacerbates fears of hunger. WGN Radio 720