Pope Francis Concerned about “violent rains” in Nigeria, in Solidarity with Flood Victims

Pope Francis during his Wednesday, October 19 general audience in Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square. Credit: Vatican Media

Pope Francis has expressed his thoughtfulness about the ongoing “violent rains” in Nigeria and said he is in solidarity with those affected by the ensuing floods. 

Floods in Nigeria have negatively impacted 27 of the country’s 36 States since September this year, according to various media reports

Some of the recent reports have cited official sources as saying that over 600 people have lost their lives and more than 1.3 million have been displaced in West African nation’s worst floods in over a decade.

Speaking during his Wednesday, October 19 general audience in Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said, “I think of the violent rains that have fallen on their country in these days, causing flooding, numerous deaths and tremendous damage.”

“Let us pray for all who have lost their lives and for everyone affected by this devastating natural disaster,” the Holy Father said.


He called for unity in aiding those suffering from the floods, saying, “May these, our brothers and sisters, experience our solidarity and the support of the international community.”

In their statement dated October 11, church leaders under the auspices of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said the foods in Delta, Anambra, Bayelsa, Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Kogi, Jigawa, Kano, Sokoto States had caused “serious collateral damages” to citizens.

In Kogi State, CAN officials said, “many travelers and traders are suffering serious collateral damages by being stranded around Lokoja and its surrounding districts, while truckers of perishable foodstuffs are on the verge of losing hundreds of millions of naira as their goods rot away even now that the nation is struggling to maintain food security.”

The Church leaders who include representatives of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) added, “Hundreds of distributors of refined petroleum products are trapped in a heavy traffic gridlock that reportedly stretches as far as 10 kilometers.”

They called on the Federal government of Nigeria to create a “Presidential Flood Relief Committee” towards the support of victims of the destructive floods in the West Africa nation.

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The church leaders said that the establishment of the committee was “necessary and timely at this point in our national life because the diligent intervention by all stakeholders will no doubt reduce the burden imposed by the natural disaster facing us today.”

To avert climate disasters in future, CAN officials said Nigerians need to be encouraged “to plant trees strategically while the authorities should stop at nothing to restore rivers to their natural courses and introduce water storage areas.”

“Apart from clearing the drainage, the government should also embark on public enlightenment about the responsibilities of citizens, which could help to reduce the impact of flooding,” they said in their October 11 statement. 

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.