Viewing cable 01ABUJA2259

01ABUJA22592001-09-09 18:57:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Abuja
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A 
¶1.   Niact Immediate precedence required because of urgent 
humanitarian crisis. Notification to USAID/OFDA and STATE/AF 
duty officers requested. Niact immediate precedence 
authorized by CDA Andrews. 
¶2.  The Charge d'Affaires, after consulting with the 
Ambassador, has declared a natural disaster in Nigeria 
because of extensive flooding caused by torrential rainfall 
and overflowing of the Tiga and Challawa reservoirs in 
northern Nigeria from August 26 through September 6, 2001. 
The areas most affected lie within the Hadejia and Jama,are 
river basins in Kano and Jigawa States.  Mission requests 
authorization to apply $25,000 of the Ambassador's emergency 
funds to this crisis, specifically to assist the Nigerian Red 
Cross Society (NRCS) to provide food and non- food relief to 
the victims. 
¶3.  It will be necessary to provide the victims with a one- 
month food ration, household utensils and non-food items, 
like blankets, mats, plastic buckets and clothing, lanterns 
and mosquito nets, transport and ancillary costs.  Assistance 
will be channeled through the International Federation of the 
Red Cross, which will then work with NRCS to deliver 
¶4.  Health education and potable water will also be needed to 
prevent outbreak of cholera and other water-borne diseases. 
It is hoped that some of the displaced victims will be able 
to go back to their villages after the recession of the 
¶5.  The Governor of Kano State requested assistance from USG 
officials in a meeting held in his office in Kano.  The joint 
State/USAID assessment team visited five local government 
areas and five villages in Kano and Jigawa States.  Based on 
their assessment and the report from NRCS, it is apparent 
that the damage is severe, and the host government is unable 
to respond adequately. 
¶6.  The NRCS has concluded an initial assessment and has 
submitted a proposal to USAID.  The NCRS proposal is for 
$637,636 worth of commodities, but NCRS reports that much 
more assistance, especially food and blankets, will be 
needed.  While officials at the state and local government 
levels are trying to respond to the crisis, the reaction of 
Federal government and other international donor agencies has 
been slow.  Members of the affected communities and some 
business organizations have donated funds to assist the 
¶7.  Estimates of the number of deaths, persons displaced, 
damage to crops, and villages have been provided by the NRCS, 
and the Jigawa and Kano State governments.  The latest 
estimate of the number of deaths and displaced persons in 
Kano state is 137 deaths and over 1,500,000 persons displaced 
as a result of the disaster.  These are preliminary 
estimates.  Based on the NRCS assessment, 180 deaths and 
95,000 persons were displaced in Jigawa state. These numbers 
will surely increase as all villages are assessed in coming 
weeks.  Jigawa State has been cut in half by the flooding, 
and huge areas are inaccessible by the means available to 
local authorities and NGOs. 
¶8.  The NRCS confirms that the current major and urgent needs 
are: food, blankets, sanitation, lanterns, drinking water and 
malaria prophylaxis drugs to the over 1,500,000 displaced 
people currently taking refuge in primary schools and other 
public buildings across the two states.  The combined efforts 
of the local and state governments including NRCS have so far 
fallen far short of the needs of the victims in the refugee 
camps.  The NRCS have so far mobilized 60 volunteers for 
search and rescue mission, and distributed 72 bags of rice, 
20 bags of beans, 16 bags of millet and 20 kgs of vegetable 
oil in two of the affected local governments. 
¶9.  The Mission further recommends that OFDA immediately 
deploy an assessment team to thoroughly assess the situation 
with a view to providing additional disaster assistance to 
the victims.  Jigawa and Kano State governments plan to 
relocate many of the villages, which will be a lengthy 
process.  Most of those affected by the flooding are 
subsistence farmers.  Besides the loss of dwellings, food and 
clothing, there has been extensive crop loss throughout the 
region.  Most of the victims will require sustained food and 
economic aid over the next 18 months until next year's 
harvest.  The rainy season in northern Nigeria is nearing its 
end, but rains remain heavy.  Other areas in the lowlands of 
Jigawa, Bauchi and Yobe states will suffer as the floodwaters 
move eastward towards Lake Chad.  In a separate message, the 
Mission will request authority for the use of operational 
time of Operation Focus Relief helicopters to assist with 
disaster assessment and aid-delivery. 
¶10.  Providing assistance is in the interest of the U.S. 
government.  Northern Nigeria has suffered intermittent 
ethnic and religious violence.  As this cable is being 
readied for transmission, the city of Jos appears to be 
emerging from a spasm of inter-religious violence.  The U.S. 
can demonstrate its impartial concern for people of all 
faiths by responding to this emergency in predominantly 
Muslim Kano and Jigawa States.  This disaster has resulted in 
a large number of displaced persons who, if not properly 
assisted, will likely migrate to urban areas in large 
numbers, thereby increasing tensions in Kano, Kaduna and