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Flooding displaces more than 2 million people in Nigeria

From Christian Purefoy, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The flooding began last month after flood gates were opened on dams
  • No deaths have been reported
  • An official blames the flooding on "poor management"

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) -- More than 2 million people have been displaced in northern Nigeria after flood gates on two dams were opened to release rising waters along the Niger River, a state official said Friday.

The flood gates on the Challawa and Tiga dams -- located at Kano in the country's north-central region -- were opened last month, according to Umar Kyari, the director of press affairs for Jigawa state.

Kyari blamed the flooding on "poor management of the water," saying the dams are often left until they are full.

"They went ahead and opened them and the water washed away anything in its way," Kyari said.

No deaths have been reported as a result of the flooding, and Kyari said "the government has tried its best to ensure no loss of life" by moving people to shelters and neighboring villages.

However, the flooding has left 97 hectares (about 240 acres) of farm land waterlogged and has caused 4.5 billion naira ($29 million) in damages, Kyari said.

Kyari said such flooding occurs every year as a result of offloading the dams, but this year's incident appears worse than past years.

He stressed, however, that the "situation is under control (and) the state government is doing everything humanly possible," to help residents.