(AFP) – Jul 11, 2011
LAGOS — Flooding from heavy rains in one of Africa's largest cities has led to a number of deaths and caused residents to flee their homes, officials in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos said Monday.
"A number of deaths have been recorded as well as destruction of properties," National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) chief Muhammad Sani-Sidi said in a statement.
He did not give a precise death toll and NEMA spokesman Yushau Shuaib told AFP the figures were still being compiled. The agency described the flooding in Lagos as "the most devastating so far this year in Nigeria."
"The situation is disturbing as scores of people have been forced out of their homes," NEMA official Tunde Adebiyi told AFP.
Numerous roads and highways were flooded following the heavy downpour which started Sunday morning and continued on Monday in Lagos, a city of some 15 million people which rivals Cairo as Africa's largest.
Large numbers of people live in haphazardly constructed slums in the overcrowded city. Families could be seen rushing to clear water from the inside of their homes and removing personal items.
The city's notoriously gridlocked traffic was made far worse, with journeys that usually take half an hour stretched to two hours or more. The government advised those able to work from home to do so, while schools were closed.
"Many vehicles have broken down and scores of people have to wade through the water to their destination," said Adebiyi.
Flooding occurs each rainy season in Nigeria, though emergency officials have warned of particularly intense rains this year. The rainy season typically runs from around April to September.
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