Floods wash hundreds of bodies from Nigerian cemetery

Floods have destroyed more than 1,500 graves at a cemetery in the central Nigerian town of Mariga in Niger state.

More than 500 graves have been swept away by the floods in the past week alone.

The Chief Imam of the town, Alhassan Musa Na’ibi, told the BBC about 1,000 decomposed bodies had been reburied. The floods followed days of torrential rains in the area.

The Imam said the cemetery had never experienced such devastation since its establishment 500 years ago. The cemetery is located near a river.

Residents say recent gold mining activities near the cemetery have also made it vulnerable – as the ground has been made weak.

Nigeria is experiencing its worst wave of flooding in a decade – affecting 29 of its 36 states.Since the end of July, more than 300 people have been killed and more than 100,000 others displaced from their communities. Bridges and large swathes of farms have also been destroyed.

Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) held an emergency meeting on Tuesday following deadly floods that could worsen after neighbouring Cameroon opened flood gates at a dam to release excess water.

Since the start of the rainy season in July, at least 300 people have been killed and more than 100,000 others displaced.

NEMA Director General, Mustapha Habib Ahmed, said 13 Nigerian states were at risk.

He said the spill-over effects from Cameroon’s Lagdo dam, combined with heavy rainfall could affect more states – including the oil-producing Niger Delta.

“The released water complicates the situation further downstream, as Nigeria’s inland reservoirs including Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro, are also expected to overflow between now and October ending,” Mr Ahmed said.

Heavy rains in the north-eastern Yobe State have submerged roads and swept a major bridge linking the state capital and some local government areas, the authorities said.

Nigeria is battling its worst floods in a decade after heavy rains across the region.At least 20 people died this week, according to authorities, and more than 300 people were killed in flooding incidents so far this year.

The floods have affected half a million people across 27 states, according to the National Emergency Management Agency. -BBC

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