Displaced by devastating floods, Nigerians are forced to use floodwater despite cholera risk
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For the first time in a long while, Nigeria’s rainy season appears to be on its way to turning into a wet one despite the floodwaters that continue to swamp much of the country’s northeast.
The torrential downpour this week began in Borno state on the Gulf of Guinea coast but it quickly moved east to the oil-reliant Niger Delta, flooding hundreds of miles of the region’s rivers in what has been called the worst flooding the country has faced in decades.
So far, more than 250 people have been killed by the floods, although the death toll is expected to rise due to the current onslaught.
While the rains have forced many people to flee their homes, officials say some have died fighting back against the rising level of water, which sometimes reaches more than 100 feet below normal levels.
Last week, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) called the situation “one of the most complicated, challenging and complex that the crisis of humanitarian and development assistance in the region has experienced” due to a combination of factors.
Nigerian Red Cross volunteers in Koffi Bay, Nigeria, in an attempt to rescue flood victims. The area is flooded by the Oku River in the delta region, which is one of the country’s main sources of crude oil.
“This is the first time that tropical cyclone and monsoon rains in the region have fallen together,” said Mohammed Elhag Aishe, the president of the Nigeria Red Cross Society. “It is no coincidence that in the same week we have seen the heaviest downpour in this country in nearly a century.”
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan said the floods that began in the second week of April are likely the worst since the country’s independence in 1960.
Since April, the death toll due