There is growing concerns that more Nigerians may get infected and many more may lose their lives from nationwide cholera outbreak occasioned by flooding, terrorism-related activities, civil unrest, lack of proper environmental sanitation as well as shortage of vaccines. Just few days ago Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) report had it that 80 persons died from cholera across the country in September while it also registered 4,153 Cholera infections between September 5 and October 2, 2022. NCDC said thirty-one states have reported suspected cholera cases in 2022. These are: Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara.
The agency added that in the reporting month (September 5 to October 2, 2022), nine states reported 4,153 suspected cases – Borno (2,626), Yobe (718), Gombe (317), Zamfara (212), Bauchi (119), Jigawa (95), Sokoto (47), Katsina (16) and Adamawa (three).
This is coming as UNICEF warned that over 2.5 million people in Nigeria are in need of humanitarian assistance, 60 per cent of which are children, and are at increased risk of waterborne diseases, drowning and malnutrition due to the most severe flooding in the past decade, warned today.
The floods, which have affected 34 out of the 36 states in the country, have displaced 1.3 million people. Over 600 people have lost their lives and over 200,000 houses have either been partially or fully damaged. Cases of diarrhoea and water-borne diseases, respiratory infection, and skin diseases have already been on the rise. In the north-eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe alone, a total of 7,485 cases of cholera and 319 associated deaths were reported as of 12 October. As rains are expected to continue for several weeks, humanitarian needs are also expected to rise.
Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, said “Children and adolescents in flood-affected areas are in an extremely vulnerable situation.”
"They are particularly at risk of waterborne diseases and emotional and psychological distress. UNICEF is working closely with the Government and other partners to provide life-saving assistance to those who are most in need.”
It is said the floods are adding another layer of complexity to an already precarious humanitarian situation in the country. Immediate priority needs for children include health, water, sanitation, and hygiene; as well as shelter and food. Additional funding and resources are required to respond to growing needs and to sustain ongoing humanitarian interventions, with a focus on the most vulnerable, including children with disabilities.