By Asmau Ahmad
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has solicited support for some 3.4 million people affected by the flooding across West and Central African countries
The call comes amid the worst floods in a decade, which have swept across Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Cameroon.
UNHCR spokesperson Ms Olga Sarrado said that hundreds of people had died in Nigeria, where floodwaters in the northeast swept through sites for internally displaced people and host communities in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe States.
Sarrado added that temperatures in the Sahel were also rising 1.5 times faster than the global average:
“The climate crisis is happening now – destroying livelihoods, disrupting food security, aggravating conflicts over scarce resources and driving displacement,” she told journalists at news conference in Geneva.
No fewer than 1.3 million people have been displaced so far in Nigeria and 2.8 million have been impacted by flooding, with farmlands and roads submerged.
In Central Sahel countries – Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso – above-average rains and flooding have killed hundreds, displaced thousands, and decimated over one million hectares of cropland.
“Countries and communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis need urgent support and financing to build defences, to adapt, and to minimize the most harmful consequences.”
To help those most in need in West and Central Africa, UNHCR appealed to all donors for urgent support, as its humanitarian operations are “dangerously and chronically underfunded.”
“In Chad, only 43 per cent of the funds UNHCR needs in 2022 have been received. Our 2022 operations in Burkina Faso are just 42 per cent funded.
“With less than two months left, we have received 39 per cent of the funds needed in Nigeria and 53 percent in Niger,” Sarrado said.
Beyond the Sahel, she reminded that we are witnessing the worst drought in 40 years and the threat of famine in the Horn of Africa, a devastating cyclone season in Mozambique, and historic floods for a fourth consecutive year in South Sudan and Sudan.
“Extreme weather across the African continent in 2022 has killed hundreds and forced millions to flee their homes,” she said.