General

Yobe Floods: Displacement and Humanitarian Needs Brief – Gulani, Gujba, Tarmua LGAs, Yobe State, Northeast Nigeria, July 2022

Introduction

Following the start of the 2022 rainy season, rainstorms have led to flash floods and flooding incidents across the Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe (BAY) states leading to the loss of lives, injuries, damage to shelters and other infrastructure, as well as to property and agricultural land, impacting livelihoods. Following heavy rainfall around the week of the 11th of July across parts of Yobe state, several communities experienced flooding which led to the destruction of shelters, farmland, property, and public infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and communication equipment. This led to the displacement of hundreds of households, with some communities also being cut-off from neighbouring settlements and essential supply routes. An estimated 1.6 million people are believed to be in need of humanitarian assistance in Yobe state, with an estimated 160,000 IDPs spread across the state. While flooding was reported to have affected communities in other LGAs (Bade, Damaturu, Fika, Geidam, Karasuwa, Machina, Nguru, Potiskum and Yusufari) within Yobe state, this assessment focuses on flood affected populations in the LGAs of Gujba, Gulani and Tarmua which are among the most affected LGAs according to media reports, partners and key informants. The floods in these areas have left many in need of immediate assistance, including food, shelter, healthcare, water, and livelihood support.

Methodology and limitations

From July 21-22, 2022, REACH conducted a rapid assessment through remotely conducted interviews and participatory displacement mapping with 12 key informants (KIs) displaced from flood-affected settlements in Gujba (5), Gulani (4) and Tarmua (3).

Most of the interviews were conducted remotely by field officers with the assistance of enumerators and local guides, most of whom were present in person during the interview. Remote data collection methods were employed because of access issues caused by the floods, which rendered some areas inaccessible, as well as the preexisting barriers posed by security and safety concerns in some areas. The data collected was triangulated using evidence obtained via satellite imaging, partner assessments, and incident reports in the news media and from government bodies. The methodology follows REACH’s rapid assessment toolkit, which is focused on gathering information on causal factors of severe needs, including displacement patterns, asset losses, food access, livelihood coping strategies and service access. The situation in the affected LGAs in Yobe continues to evolve at the time of writing and findings adduced includes information received up until July 27th. All findings in this brief are indicative only and should be triangulated with data from other sources.

The main limitations faced during data collection involved communication difficulties caused by the floods rendering some communities, particularly in Gulani and Gujba, unreachable and inaccessible, with reports of some communication infrastructure seemingly affected. Other limitations were those imposed by time and the size of the sample given that several LGAs were affected, with LGAs where REACH field officers were able to identify locations hosting newly displaced people being prioritised. This means that this brief is unable to provide a full overview of all flood-affected areas across Yobe state, or of the scale of displacement in numerical terms.

Key findings

Information gathered by REACH indicates a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation, with flooding exacerbating existing vulnerabilities and driving needs, particularly for food, non-food items (NFIs), and shelter. Given the extent of destruction to shelters and livelihoods, and the need for urgent humanitarian support to mitigate resource gaps for an already vulnerable population, a prolonged disruption of livelihoods and/or any further flooding, even on a similar scale, may lead to a further deterioration of conditions in these areas.

As a result of the flooding in many parts of Gujba, Gulani, and Tarmua, many communities were faced with the destruction of their shelters, farmland, livelihood assets and other household resources. Access roads, bridges, public buildings, and some communication lines have been reportedly affected by the floods, and in some cases have led to entire communities being cut-off from key supply and travel routes. Satellite imagery based on REACH and UNOSAT data as of the 18th of July shows large sections (marked in red) of these LGAs covered by flood waters, including extensive farming areas and around populated zones (see maps at the end of this brief).

Reports indicate hundreds of households were displaced as a result of the flooding. Most KIs reported that most of the population in affected communities, and in some cases whole communities, have been displaced due to the flooding. Most KIs reported people left with their entire households, travelling together or in groups of households initially on foot and then, where possible, in vehicles in most cases. Destinations were reportedly selected on the basis of proximity, available shelter, security, likelihood of receiving aid, and/or the presence of friends and relatives. The majority of KIs reported that those displaced expressed a desire to return if they obtained support to rebuild their shelters and restore their livelihoods once the water recedes, while some KIs reported that others intend to remain in their current location, citing a lack of basic amenities in their settlement.

In the 2022 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO), Gujba and Gulani were classified as phase 4 (extreme) on the Joint Intersectoral Analysis Framework (JIAF) severity scale. This indicates a collapse of living standards, with survival being dependent either on humanitarian assistance or corrosive and extreme coping strategies. Tarmua was classified as phase 3 (severe), indicating degrading living standards and the inability to meet some basic needs without resorting to negative/ emergency coping mechanisms. These give an indication of adverse humanitarian conditions in these LGAs, which may have been exacerbated by the flooding.

According to KIs, the primary needs among populations remaining in flood-affected areas, as well as among those displaced by the flooding, are food, non-food items and household resources, such as clothing, mosquito nets, and blankets, as well as shelter. With reports that food stocks and large swathes of farmland have been affected by the flooding, and KIs reporting that some of the displaced and those remaining in the affected settlements were already adopting coping mechanisms such as foraging and eating wild foods, there is an increased risk that many of those affected may exhaust available coping mechanisms and require emergency support.

Some KIs reported that the remaining population in their settlement had not received any kind of aid or support at the time of data collection. For those displaced as a result of flooding, the majority of KIs reported that any aid or support they had received so far came from the host communities in the form of shelter, food and access to services.

Source: REACH Initiative