Throughout much of the country, governments are grappling with how best to adapt to the effects of climate change on their society. Each week, the New York Times publishes a series of stories on this same topic.
Just two kilometers south of the state capital of Lagos, a group of informal settlements called Ajegunle sits in an estuary flooded nearly three times annually by a tidal breach. As the tide rises with each tide, the areas’ residents — some of whom live in mud huts made of boards and grass — scramble for the evacuation path. Mucheke Glorious, 37, was among the residents who took to the waters. Her husband is a fisherman and only kept his boat out into the estuary because of the risk of drowning.
An illegal camp on the shore line of Ajegunle, an informal settlement on Lagos Island. © Jonny Weeks for The New York Times
In April, with a record surge of the water at their doorstep, residents began to die. Among them were Aroco Raji, 47, his 2-year-old daughter, Tobi, and Nderitu Abolika, 25. Witnesses said Raji climbed the jetty as waters rose. The girl was swept away by the wave but Abolika remained in his basket and was presumed drowned.
Tobi is held by his brother, Joseph, and Mucheke Glorious, 32, the three generations that have lived in the Ajegunle. © Jonny Weeks for The New York Times
On Saturday, hundreds of bodies of residents were recovered. The majority of the dead were women and children.
Below is video from one of the camps taken by a group of local men, who contacted The New York Times after being caught in the flood.
A resident of the camp, Sebastian, is seen rescuing a woman, on the edge of a public road in Ajegunle. © Jonny Weeks for The New York Times
The territorial and social boundaries have been upset by the tide. © Jonny Weeks for The New York Times
The people of Ajegunle are grappling with a world that believes they should pay for what they can no longer control.