Nigeria farmers fear destruction of corn, rice crops in floods that have displaced 2 million

GUDINCHIN, Nigeria (AP) — Farmers in northern Nigeria said Monday they feared their crops were destroyed in weekend floods that started when two swollen dams overflowed and displaced 2 million people.

In the village of Gudinchin, rice and corn stalks poked above a fast-moving river that had washed over the fields. A few houses in the village peered above the water, and people had constructed a makeshift embankment out of the remains of mud houses that had washed away.

Garba Gudinchin, 55, a farmer, said he thought a large number of crops drowned in the deluge.

"I cannot tell you the figure, it is big," he said in the local Hausa language.

Tasi'u Guda Dutse, an official with the local chapter of the Nigerian Red Cross, said his group was trying to get emergency supplies to the area. He said the aid group is most concerned about public health and sanitation after water washed through sewage and into local wells.

Hundreds of people already have died from cholera this year in Nigeria. The waterborne bacterial disease is highly contagious, leading to diarrhea and severe dehydration. The country's worst epidemic in 19 years also has spread to Cameroon, Chad and Niger, where it has killed hundreds more.

Nigeria has strong seasonal rains that wash through the country. However, this year particularly strong rains in the north already have broken a dam and flowed over levees.

Africa's most populous nation last saw serious flooding in 2007, when 68 people died and 50,000 were affected.

This year's rains come as neighboring Niger faces what international aid experts warn is the worst hunger crisis in its history following a prolonged drought and poor growing season last year. One of the poorest countries in Africa, Niger now has more than 7 million people — almost 50 percent of the population — suffering from a lack of food, officials say.