Flood Cut off over 40,000 from Food Supply in Borno, Says UN

  • ·Damages 4,000 hectares of farmland in the area
  •  Children, women worst hit by food scarcity

Michael Olugbode, Maiduguri

The United Nations (UN) saturday disclosed that flood had cut off over 40,000 persons from food supply and other humanitarian services in Rann in northern Borno.

UN also disclosed that the disaster damaged an estimated 4,000 hectares of farmland, destroying the main source of food for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the area.

These are contained in a statement issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), lamenting that the disaster affected several thousands of IDPs, mostly children and women, in Northern Borno.

The statement said more than 40,000 men, women and children, mostly IDPs, had little or no access to food or services in the town of Rann, Borno State, due to heavy flooding of the River Kaalia in neighbouring Cameroon since November 7.

Also, the statement added that the disaster damaged an estimated 4,000 hectares of farmland, destroying crops that are the main source of food for IDPs staying in Rann.

It lamented that stranded populations “are running short of food and those who can afford it are paying high sums to be transported to the other areas, also putting their life at risk while crossing the river or travelling to safety.”

The statement said humanitarian partners “are mobilising resources to reach the stranded population via the UN Humanitarian Air Services until access is secured for small boats. Providing food is the main priority, along with water, shelters and emergency health services.

“In Adamawa State, more than 100,000 people are also affected by severe flooding across seven local government areas since October 27, following torrential rainfall and overflow of water from the Niger and Benue rivers.”

It said the Adamawa floods “has caused the displacement of about 19,000 people and the government, leading on the response, has opened nine camps for IDPs.

“The UN and humanitarian partners are scaling up assistance in Adamawa as well and have already provided reproductive health kits to more than 56,000 people; non-food items to 400 families; and farming items to 4,000 families in areas that were not reached by government assistance.”

The statement lamented that North-eastern Borno and Adamawa states “are currently facing the worst floods in seven years, which have destroyed homes and livelihoods across entire communities in the region.

“About 300,000 people have been affected by floods so far this year, which is at least five times more than expected in the humanitarian contingency plan based on an average from previous years,” the statement said.

It added that the latest flooding, coming at a time when the rain season would usually be over, had compounded an already dire humanitarian situation in two of the three states most affected by the 10-year conflict, with 7.1 million people in need of urgent assistance this year.

It noted that the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria “is seeking US$848 million to assist 6.2 million people and is 60 per cent funded so far.”

In its own report, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said more than 300 people from Rann, a remote town in an area where violent attacks from non-state armed groups are frequent and access is difficult for humanitarian assistance due to the high insecurity and poor road conditions, have managed to reach Ngala, a town some 40 km away.

IOM, also, an intergovernmental organization that provides services and advice concerning migration to governments and migrants, claimed it had managed to leave Rann before the road became impassable.