More than 2.8 million people have been impacted by Nigeria’s worst floods in a decade, with 1.3 million displaced and hundreds of lives lost, said the UN chief on Friday, expressing his sadness at the devastation.

Infrastructure and farmland have also been damaged, said the statement issued on behalf of Secretary-General António Guterres, worsening the cost of living across the country.  

He extended his deepest condolences to the Government of Nigeria and to the affected families, reiterating the UN’s continuing “commitment to supporting the Government of Nigeria in this challenging time.”

UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, said that 60 per cent of those in need were children, who are at increased risk of waterborne diseases, drowning and malnutrition.

The floods have affected 34 out of the 36 states in the country, and over 600 people have lost their lives, with 200,000 houses either partially or fully damaged.

In the northeastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, a total of 7,485 cases of cholera and 319 associated deaths were reported as of 12 October, and rains are expected to continue for several weeks, along with rising humanitarian needs.

“Children and adolescents in flood-affected areas are in an extremely vulnerable situation,” said Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.

“They are particularly at risk of waterborne diseases and emotional and psychological distress. UNICEF is working closely with the Government and other partners to provide life-saving assistance to those who are most in need.”  

Immediate priority needs for children include health, water, sanitation, and hygiene; as well as shelter and food.