Recent deadly floods in Nigeria, which have killed over 600 people and displaced 1 million more, have led to a major increase in cholera cases and other preventable diseases, warns the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The IRC is scaling up our response as well as our sanitation and hygiene and health programming in order to stop the spread of cholera and save lives. The IRC calls for more resources to help us and other frontline organizations rapidly scale up to address the massive humanitarian needs in the flood affected areas.

Babatunde Anthony Ojei, Nigeria Country Director at the IRC, said

“Nigeria has not seen flooding like this in more than a decade. At least 13 local government areas in Borno state alone are experiencing a deadly cholera outbreak with more than 6,000 suspected cases and a 4-5% case fatality ratio. The IRC needs more resources to scale up our health work to treat cholera patients and our water and sanitation programming to help us stop the spread. 

Having contributed less than 1% of the world’s global emissions, yet ranked in the bottom 20% of countries equipped to respond to the impacts of climate change, Nigeria is increasingly bearing the brunt of a crisis it did not cause. More frequent droughts and flooding coupled with a global economic crisis has led to increasing food insecurity. More than 1 million children in the northeast are expected to suffer from acute food insecurity this year, making them more susceptible to succumbing to diseases like cholera. The world, especially the countries contributing the most to climate change, must step up and help countries suffering its consequences.”

With more rains expected over the coming months, the IRC calls for better coordination between Nigeria and Cameroon on excess water releases and appropriate mitigation plans for communities that are in the line of impact. If nothing is done, more children and women may die from preventable diseases. The international community must step up to support those in need of life saving care in Nigeria. 

The International Rescue Committee (IRC)  has been working in Nigeria since 2012, providing life saving support to communities in Nigeria affected by natural disasters, armed conflict and other poverty related issues. The IRC runs eight field offices in northeast Nigeria and a country office in Abuja, the capital.  The IRC works to help people recover and rebuild their lives by providing health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, and education services.