Extreme weather in Africa: Floods affect 2 million children in 3 months in these 3 countries

Severe flooding has pushed children in Nigeria, Chad & South Sudan into increased risk of waterborne diseases, malnutrition

By Madhumita Paul
Published: Friday 04 November 2022

In Nigeria, Chad and South Sudan, about 2,275,000 children were affected by extreme floods from August through October 2022, a new report showed. 

Water flowing above danger levels left a trail of destruction in each country, with homes submerged, crops destroyed and schools forced to close, said Save the Children, an international non-governmental organisation, which published the report. 

The children in these three countries are at increased risk of waterborne diseases and malnutrition due to severe flooding, the authors of the report warned. 

Children in Nigeria is considered to be at ‘extremely high risk’ of climate change im[acts, ranking second out of 163 countries, according to UNICEF’s Children's Climate Risk Index

This year, the floods affected 34 out of the 36 states in Nigeria, according to the United Nations. Over 600 people lost their lives and 200,000 houses were either partially or fully damaged. 

Children in extremely high-risk countries face a deadly combination of exposure to multiple climate and environmental shocks. This is combined with high levels of underlying child vulnerability, due to inadequate essential services, such as water and sanitation, healthcare and education.

In Nigeria, with at least 250 schools destroyed and millions of people forced to flee their homes, flooding has taken a serious toll on children’s learning, said Save the Children.

More than 1 million people (200,000 households) in 18 of Chad’s 23 provinces were affected by floods, as of October 31.

The central African country is severely affected by climate change and ranks second worldwide as a country in which children are the most at risk. 

In 2022, Chad recorded its heaviest rainfall in the past 30 years, resulting in rivers overflowing, rupturing dikes.

In South Sudan, floods have washed away roads and bridges, destroyed homes, schools and health facilities. Floodwaters submerged boreholes and latrines, contaminating water sources and risking outbreaks of waterborne diseases.

Flooding has also destroyed livestock and potentially damaged 16,500 hectares of cropland.

The non-profit said: 

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.

Immediate needs for these children include health, water, sanitation and hygiene as well as shelter and food, the authors of the report added.

Extensive flooding in the past three months impacted the lives of about 19 million children in the three African countries as well as Pakistan and India, according to Save the Children. 

As many as 16 million children in Pakistan, 1.25 million children in Nigeria, 544,000 in Chad, 463,000 in South Sudan and 400,000 in India weere impacted by deluge.

Flooding in these five countries affected a total of 38.7 million people, with thousands killed and millions displaced.

Save the Children called on governments to support the creation of a new loss and damage climate finance mechanism at the 27th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This will help address the cost of the impacts of the climate crisis to children’s rights.

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