Nigeria was subjected to the worst floods in a decade in October, which killed more than 600 people and displaced around a million.

Along with the hundreds of thousands of homes destroyed, huge swathes of farmland across the country have been devastated by the rising waters. Sky News’ Yousra Elbagir traveled to the country to see the hardships in the aftermath of the deluge.

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Scenes in October when the floods were at their peak

The sun beats down on a field in the Nigerian state of Benue.

Three young children are hunched over mounds of rotting rice husks. A few yards away, their mother passes grain through her hands with a baby on her back. The family digs through the rot for any leftover rice they can grind at home for food after their farms have been swept away.

This is the reality of life in the nation’s food basket. Unprecedented rainfall caused devastating floods that killed at least six hundred people across the country and left more than a million homeless. It is the worst flood Nigeria has seen in over a decade.

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The rice fields have been devastated by the floods
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Scenes at the local market

The country is used to seasonal flooding, but this year has been significantly worse. Now that the floods are over, Nigerians are faced with the fact that not only lives and homes have been lost, but also swaths of the country’s best agricultural land.

Today, the Bénoué River has receded, but the damage is done. Nearly 20 million Nigerians now face food insecurity.

“I was producing a little over a ton of rice a day. The arrival of the floods has affected us so much – even one to two bags that we can’t even grind a day now,” says Bridget Owoloyi, who has been processing rice since 2015.

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The amount of processed rice has decreased significantly

The Benue State Emergency Management Agency says it will take at least another two months for farming communities to be compensated.

State services have long been described as overwhelmed since clashes between farmers and herders began four years ago.

At least 1.5 million people have been displaced by the conflict and many face even more losses from the floods.

Rice plants destroyed
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Rice plants destroyed

“This farm is rented. My ancestral home is a forbidden zone because of the attacks of the shepherds against us”, explains Jila Barnabas.

Now his rented farm is desolate.

“Thousands of hectares of rice are washed away,” he adds.

The desperation of the farmer – a sign of the coming hunger.

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