Floods are submerging whole houses in Nigeria. At least 80 have died trying to escape from the rising waters, as many as 1,400 homes have been damaged, half a million in all, in the biggest and most destructive disaster to strike the country in 35 years. Photograph: Chris Epp/AFP/Getty Images
Floods have swept through Nigeria and displaced hundreds, with at least 80 people feared dead in the worst flood disaster in the country’s history.
The floods were caused by the heaviest rains experienced this year, with at least 1,400 homes destroyed and more than half of the country’s capital city of 200,000 inundated. Many more houses have been flooded and more are reported to be damaged.
The flooding has hit the city of Lagos, the country’s biggest city, which was already reeling from the loss of the worst ever flooding in more than 50 years.
As the flooding has spread, there have now been three separate incidents of people washing up on a beach, with three confirmed drownings and one man who got washed up in a lake.
In the city of Port Harcourt, about 30 miles from Lagos, residents gathered on a beach at dawn to try to save the life of a man who had become stranded in the river.
Residents were also taking shelter in a primary school after a primary school caught fire, with firefighters from the fire brigade warning residents not to return to their homes until conditions improved.
“We are getting reports of multiple deaths and thousands of people trapped in their homes. The town is at risk of being completely inundated this evening,” Nigeria’s meteorological agency said.
It said the flooding was hitting the city of Murtala Muhammed airport in the country’s south, with more than 200 flights cancelled and at least eight flights delayed.
It said at least 16,000 people were involved in rescuing people from their flooded homes.
More than 2,000 people lost their homes and 2,000 others were still being searched, it said.
About a third of the homes which have been ruined have been in the Lagos area, which was hit the hardest.
Some victims who survived the floods have described being