Mapping out those affected, lost to Nigerian devastating flooding

Entry type: Single project

Country/area: Nigeria

Publishing organisation: International Centre for Investigative Reporting (The ICIR)

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 2022-10-19

Language: English

Authors: Credit: Shehu Olayinka


Shehu Olayinka is a fact checker, data analyst and journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (The ICIR).

Shehu wants to use data to tell impactful stories.

Project description:

The project looked at the devastating flood that occurred in Nigeria in 2022 and claimed the lives of more than 600 people.

Nigeria is used to seasonal flooding, but the 2022 flooding in Nigeria has been significantly worse than usual as houses and roads were submerged in affected areas, forcing people to seek shelter away from their homes.

Impact reached:

Coverage of the floodbefore the publication of my project had been on the flood itself and the harm it had caused to the country; however, none had examined how the flooding was affecting people’s lives or how deaths were occurring.

I took a slightly different approach to understanding how flooding has been affecting each States, Nigerians and how many people have been affected and died since 2012. I researched and used open-source reporting tools to examine past events in a project that active citizens and journalists can use for future research and potentially help the Nigerian Government prevent further mass deaths.

Techniques/technologies used:

I searched Google using search terms to look for reports from national and international media outlets, victim posts, and hashtags for social media platforms, restricting my search to the years 2012 to 2022. In addition, I examined the flood extent on a NASA map in 2012 and 2022, two of Nigeria’s most difficult years.

In order to understand how communities are being affected and how many people may be displaced by flooding, I started using Google Maps, Google Earth, NASA-generated satellite images, and local knowledge as soon as I had the data.

I visualised and produced maps for the project using tools like Microsoft Excel, Datawrapper, Power Bi, and Infogram.

Context about the project:

Obtaining data and figuring out how to describe what was happening in communities during the flooding in Nigeria was one of the project’s most difficult challenges. Despite submitting FOI requests, government organisations did not respond with the requested information.

I tried fruitlessly to get data on how much rainfall and water released from dams contributed to flooding in Nigeria.

Obtaining the precise number of fatalities reported in Nigeria since 2012 was another difficult task.

What can other journalists learn from this project?

This project can be used as a starting point for future flood-related research by journalists in Nigeria.

Future researchers, teachers, and policymakers can use this project to understand better how floods cause yearly fatalities.

Project links: