‘Deeply concerned about cholera outbreak in Nigerian states’ – WaterAid

6 October 2021
Individuals, Employees and companies, Schools and teachers, Nigeria, Campaigns, Water, Toilets, Hygiene, Health, Climate change
Hussaina Yakubu (42) is a mother of 6 in Guzape Village. Abuja, Nigeria. September 2020
Image: WaterAid/ Nelson Owoicho

October 6, 2021 (New York, NY)—WaterAid is deeply concerned about the cholera outbreak that has affected communities in several states in Nigeria, claiming over 3,000 lives* so far, especially affecting young children between 5 and 14 years old.

The numbers might be even higher, WaterAid said, as many people in hard-to-reach areas have been affected.

The organization fears that the global climate crisis, which is likely to lead to more erratic rains and floods, will increase the number and severity of these outbreaks, as there will be a higher risk of floods contaminating clean water sources. 

This recent outbreak has been the most lethal in several years, considering the number of cases and deaths recorded so far. Even though the rainy season is coming to an end, the outbreak is ongoing.
Evelyn Mere, Country Director of  WaterAid in Nigeria

WaterAid is working closely with the authorities in several states and at a national level in the fight against cholera, intensifying an awareness campaign against through TV and radio. Messages focus on the importance of access to safely managed toilets in households and public institutions, ending open defecation, and the need to improve handwashing habits. WaterAid is also working continuously to influence government at all levels to prioritize community access to clean water.

According to an earlier report on water, sanitation and hygiene, just 16% of the population in Nigeria have access to basic hygiene services, 44% have access to basic sanitation and 46 million Nigerians still defecate in the open. Their waste is often washed away by rain, contaminating water sources like wells, especially during the rainy season.

To tackle the challenge, the Nigerian government and donors need to step up their investment in the grossly underfunded water, sanitation and hygiene sector, which was declared to be in a state of emergency in 2018.

Evelyn Mere, Country Director of  WaterAid in Nigeria said:

Improving living and sanitation conditions in a sustainable way is extremely important in the fight against diseases like cholera and the impacts of climate change. It will literally save thousands of lives. Communities need proper handwashing and sanitation facilities, and clean water sources that are at a distance from toilets so there’s no cross contamination.
Evelyn Mere, Country Director of WaterAid in Nigeria

*Between start of 2021 and end of September 2021


  • 771 million people in the world – one in ten – do not have clean water close to home.
  • Two billion people in the world – almost one in four – do not have a decent toilet of their own.
  • Around 310,000 children under five die every year from diarrheal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's around 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes. 
  • Every $2 invested in water and toilets returns an average of $8 in increased productivity.
  • $50 can help run a handwashing campaign to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

WaterAid is an international nonprofit working in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalized people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 28.1 million people with clean water and 28.8 million people with decent toilets. 

For more information, contact: Emily Haile, Director of Communications, [email protected]

You can also call our global, 24-hour press line at +44 (0)7887 521 552 or email [email protected].