Federal Government Warns of Increased Cholera Risk Amidst Rising Floods

The Federal Government has issued a stern warning about the worsening cholera outbreak, exacerbated by ongoing heavy rainfall and flooding across the country.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Joseph Terlumum, raised alarm over the epidemic’s escalating toll, reporting 63 deaths and 2,102 suspected cases as of July 3, 2024.

Incessant rains have triggered severe flooding in several states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), prompting urgent calls for action.

The minister urged state governments to intensify efforts to clear drainages and mitigate flood-related disasters as the rainy season peaks.

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

He highlighted that more than three states, including the FCT, have experienced significant flooding since April, resulting in casualties, displacement, and property loss.

Despite the severe flooding, the minister clarified that no water has been released from any dams within or outside Nigeria.

He noted that water levels in the Kainji and Jebba Dams on the River Niger are still being managed within their reservoirs.

However, the risk of river flooding looms large, with states such as Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Adamawa, Benue, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Jigawa, Kogi, Kebbi, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa, Ondo, Ogun, Rivers, Taraba, and the FCT expected to be impacted starting this month.

“Clearing blocked drainage systems and canals, relocating people living along waterways, and desilting river channels and canals are critical measures that states and local governments must implement to manage runoff water and prevent flood damage,” Terlumum advised.

The minister’s warnings come on the heels of a statement from the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Jide Idris, who confirmed the rising death toll from the cholera outbreak. Idris reported that 63 deaths and 2,102 suspected cases have been recorded across 122 local government areas in 33 of the country’s 36 states and the FCT.

Idris noted that approximately 90% of the cases have been reported in 10 states, with seven located in the southern region. The top affected states include Lagos, Bayelsa, Abia, Zamfara, Bauchi, Katsina, Cross River, Ebonyi, Rivers, and Delta.

The outbreak has been attributed to the ingestion of contaminated food and water, compounded by the persistent issue of open defecation.

Despite these challenges, Idris expressed confidence in the country’s capacity to curb further spread of the disease.

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