The Nigerian military has ordered people not to return to the flood-ridden areas until the rains end

More than 600 killed in Nigeria’s worst flooding in a decade

By Alaric DeWitt

12 February 2012

In recent days, Nigeria and its neighbors have seen the largest-ever rainstorm in more than a decade. The rains have led to the largest flooding in Africa for more than 30 years, killing at least 60 people and destroying more than 10,000 homes.

Since the beginning of the rainy season in late January, heavy rains have been falling in different parts of the country. In a period of five days, the country has seen torrential rains and unprecedented flooding.

According to the National Meteorological Agency, about 70 percent of the country will be under water by the end of February. The floods have killed or displaced more than 600, according to the Associated Press.

Most deaths and the destruction have been caused by the flooding in the states of Bauchi, in the south-west region, and Benue, in the northeast, two of the most densely populated states in the country.

Residents of those states are being rescued by the military, which has been deployed throughout the states, deploying more than 600 army personnel, including 350 soldiers, police and riot policemen, and has ordered Nigerians not to return to the flood-ridden areas until the rains end. The military has deployed helicopters to rescue people from the flooded low-lying areas and floodwaters, which have increased by up to 50 meters in some places.

The military has given the residents one week to leave the affected area or face possible further violence. If people refuse to leave the areas, military forces will be deployed to the areas to forcibly remove people from their homes.

The heavy rains have washed away the entire coastal region, causing a tidal surge that has swept away the entire city of Bauchi—the capital of the federal government in the state of Bauchi. Since the beginning of the rainy season, more than 2,000 homes and a number of businesses were destroyed, according to the Federal Ministry of Health. The military has also imposed a curfew on the affected areas and has declared a state of emergency in the two states.

Nigerians, already suffering from the collapse in living standards due to the economic crisis, have been hit by the floods and the military’s decision to relocate people.

In Benue state, on the border of Nigeria, more than 1,000 people have been displaced by the floods

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