The Federal government has warned that the increasing level of flooding and continuous rainfall may worsen the spread of cholera in the country. The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof Joseph Terlumum stated this while addressing a press conference on Thursday. According to him, a total of 63 deaths and 2,102 suspected cases have already been recorded as of Wednesday, July 3 2024 since the outbreak of the epidemic. This was in reaction to the flash flood caused by the incessant rainfalls experienced throughout the states and the nation’s capital, Abuja. Terlumum said the flood incidents recorded so far were flash/urban floods, resulting from high rainfall intensities of long and poor blocked drainage systems in the urban areas.

He said, “We are calling on states and local government councils, to intensify and step up efforts to avert flood-related disasters in their domains as we approach the peak of the flooding season.

“At the national, some states have started experiencing some level of flooding and its associated disaster as of April this year. So far, more than three states such as FCT have experienced high levels of flooding, with several casualties recorded, including displacement of people and loss of properties.”

According to the minister, there has been no release of water yet from any of the dams within and outside Nigeria.

For Kainji and Jebba Dams on River Niger, he said water is still impounded into their reservoirs.

He said river flooding is expected beginning this month, and states likely to be impacted are; Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Adamawa, Benue, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Jigawa, Kogi, Kebbi, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa, Ondo, Ogun, Rivers, Taraba and the FCT.

“Clearing of blocked drainage systems and canals, replications of people living along waterways and states and local governments, are encouraged to desilt river channels and canals in their respective constituents, to collect runoff water is part of the recommendation file for flood motifs,” he advised.

On Tuesday, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Jide Idris, while giving the situation report on the infectious disease, confirmed that the death toll from the rampaging cholera outbreak had risen to 63, and 2,102 suspected cases.

He said cases have now been recorded across 122 Local Government Areas in 33 states of the country’s 36 and the Federal Capital Territory.

Idris added that about 90 per cent of the cases were recorded in 10 states of the federation, with seven of them in the southern region.

“Of the top 10 states, Lagos, Bayelsa, Abia, Zamfara, Bauchi, Katsina, Cross River, Ebonyi, Rivers and Delta that contribute about 90 per cent of the cases, seven of them are southern states,” Mr Idris said.

He attributed the outbreak to the ingestion of contaminated food and water, even as he expressed the country’s capacity to curtail further spread despite the challenges posed by the culture of open defecation.

Earlier, Idris had said his agency had already activated the National Cholera Multi-Sectoral Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate what he described as a robust response to nationwide cholera cases.

He said the agency activated the EOC after conducting a dynamic risk assessment.

He said: “In response to the rapidly increasing cholera cases, a dynamic risk assessment was conducted by subject matter experts on the cholera outbreak situation in Nigeria last week.

“The subject matter experts were drawn from relevant Ministries (Health, Environment, Agriculture, Water Resources, etc.), Departments, Agencies, stakeholders, and major partners. The outcome of the risk assessment placed the country at “High Risk” of increased risk of cholera transmission and impact.”

In June, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced the re-emergence of cholera cases across countries in Africa, East Asia, America, Europe, and the Eastern Mediterranean region.

Data made available by the organisation showed that about 195,00 cholera cases have been reported in the five regions between January and May.

Africa was ranked the region with the second-highest cholera cases, with 92,789 cases from 14 countries. It closely followed the Eastern Mediterranean region, with the highest number of cases, more than 98,000 cases from seven countries.

For deaths recorded, Africa ranks highest with 1,698 deaths. The Eastern Mediterranean region, on the other hand, had 256 deaths.