When the rains fall

For the families struggling to survive in northeast Nigeria, the start of the rainy season is an especially tough time of year.

The rains may break the heat and bring the promise of a successful crop, but the weather also brings an increased risk of waterborne disease. The whole area around Lake Chad will endure flooding for the next few months, leaving the 2.4 million people who’ve been displaced by the conflict exposed to the elements.

Muddy roads are expected to block humanitarian access to remote areas and life in the camps will become a quagmire. In the midst of all this, families also have to cope with the increased the risk of diseases like cholera, diarrhoea and malaria.

Street children rummage through trash disposed at Old Maiduguri
A child in the Old Maiduguri host community standing in a muddy mix of garbage after the rains

In Old Maiduguri, where there has been an influx of displaced families, the situation is increasingly dire. The trash that’s been strewn about in heaps has now mixed with mud and children play in unhealthy mix of stagnant puddles with rotting garbage. This is no place for a child.

A home in Old Maiduguri with stagnant water

Muna Garaga camp is home to 40,000 people and gets flooded when it rains. The children play in the stagnant puddles.

Street children play in a puddle of water in Old Maiduguri

With population influx to these locations, people are increasingly vulnerable when they can’t get enough clean water that they need to survive.

“Displaced populations in this crisis are facing a horrific dilemma,” said Mohamed Fall, UNICEF’s Representative in Nigeria. “We are seeing communities suffering without sufficient access to clean water to meet their basic needs while extreme rain and flooding is expected to bring deadly waterborne diseases.”

Internally Displaced Persons in Muna garage camp fetching water

UNICEF and its partners are intensifying efforts to improve water and sanitation services, as well as basic hygiene practices in preparation for the rainy season.

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