Posted 2012/11/05 at 10:34 am EST
ABUJA, Nov. 5, 2012 (Reuters) — Nigeria’s worst flooding in at least half a century has killed 363 people since the start of July and displaced 2.1 million people, an emergency agency said on Monday.
Nigeria often suffers seasonal flash floods after heavy tropical rain, but the sheer scale of the devastation this year has shocked people and images of towns and cities under water have filled TV screens.
President Goodluck Jonathan last month called the flooding, which has submerged parts of the south, a “national disaster” but said it would not trigger a food crisis.
The National Emergency Management Agency said in a statement on Monday that 7.7 million people had been affected by the flooding between July 1 and October 31.
It said 363 people had been killed and 18,282 people injured.
From the swampy oil region in the south to the dusty base of the Sahel further north, Nigeria’s 160 million people are spread across a land mass twice the size of California.
Flooding in the oil rich Niger Delta, where Africa’s third longest river flows into the Atlantic ocean, has disrupted oil production to the tune of around 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) – more than a fifth of Nigeria’s output – according to the Department of Petroleum Resources.
A cocoa industry body said last month that cocoa output would fall far short of a 300,000 metric tons target because of excessive rain.
(Reporting by Joe Brock; Editing by Andrew Osborn)