At least 30 killed in Nigerian floods
At least 30 people are dead and dozens more missing after heavy floods swept through parts of Nigeria's Plateau state, local media reported today.
According to Nigeria's Leadership newspaper, the floods have forced about 1,000 families from their homes and affected about 5,000 more.
Victor Lar, a senator of southern Plateau state, told the newspaper that the floods are the worst experienced in 50 years. Displaced families are temporarily being housed in nearby camps, where there are fears that waterborne diseases could break out.
Plateau state's floods broke out on Monday, following three days of torrential rain, which swelled rivers, streams and broke bridges between towns. Flood waters have still not receded in many places.
In the town of Shendam, the only bridge in and out of the area collapsed, stranding not only residents, but also relief workers who had come to aid the displaced.
"Nobody was killed, but cars cannot cross to the other side ... residents are confused," said Audu Yohanna, a spokesman for Nigeria's national emergency agency.
In Jos, Indo Abdulmumin told the news website ynaija.com today that she awoke to rapids flowing into her home.
"The water flowed into all our rooms," she said. "We went into the room to carry the young boys, but we couldn't because the wall had already collapsed. When my husband tried to enter he discovered that the flood had gone with them. I have lost six of my children," Abdulmumin said.
West Africa suffers from devastating floods each rainy season, particularly in low-lying areas such as parts of southern Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Sierra Leone and Senegal.
Seven people were reported killed in suburbs of the Senegalese capital Dakar on Tuesday, after flood waters overflowed wells and surged through the streets.
In 2009, floods devastated parts of several West African countries, killing about 100 people and displacing hundreds of thousands more.
Aid agencies, including the International Federation of the Red Cross, have been leading preparation drives ever since, but poor infrastructure and soil quality have hampered efforts.