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38 dead, 92,000 left homeless by Niger floods

8 September 2016 14:46

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Recent heavy floods in Niger have killed more than three dozen people and left tens of thousands of others homeless, a United Nations (UN) report says.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report on Wednesday that, since June, at least 38 people had lost their lives and more than 92,000 had been made homeless as a result of torrential rains and heavy downpours in the West African country.

The Nigerien government had put the number of fatalities at 14 before new flooding in August.

The OCHA, citing government figures, also noted that more than 9,000 homes had been destroyed and more than 26,000 heads of livestock lost.

Over 50,000 people had received aid from NGOs and many of the homeless had been sheltering in schools and public buildings, it added.

The Nigerien National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) issued a warning last month, advising residents along the Niger River to evacuate immediately to safer ground over the likelihood of floods.

“If the heavy rainfall continues in intensity and duration within these regions of the River Niger, it is imminent that [a] flood situation similar to that of the year 2012 may occur,” Muhammad Sani-Sidi, the director general of NEMA, was quoted as saying in the statement.

Heavy downpours in 2012 marked the worst flooding in more than 100 years, leaving at least 91 people dead and displacing 530,000 others. Also in 2015, flooding killed scores of people and made 103,000 others homeless in Niger.

The towns of Agadez in the north and Tahoua to the west are among the worst hit areas in the current flooding, according to reports.

Earlier in June, the UN had warned that floods in Niger could affect 100,000 people by the end of the year.

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