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Thousands displaced by flooding

[Niger] Nigeriens leaving the boubon market, southwestern Niger, on the Niger River. [Date picture taken: 08/24/2006]
Nigériens se déplaçant en pirogue à la suite des inondations survenues dans la région du sud-ouest du Niger (Nicholas Reader/IRIN)

Torrential rains have left at least 17,000 people homeless in the north and south of Niger, according to authorities who have appealed for urgent assistance.

The remote desert town Bilma in Agadez region, 1,500 km northeast of the capital Niamey has been hardest hit, according to a cabinet statement released on Tuesday. In this town alone, some 3,400 people from 675 families have been driven from their homes or watched them destroyed by flooding, the report said.

According to the Nigerien government Bilma has received some 63 mm of rain in recent days - equivalent to the total rainfall recorded there during the last 10 years.

Abba Mallam Boukar, governor of the Agadez region, said in a television interview on Wednesday that Bilma is experiencing a “catastrophe”, and pleaded for assistance.

“The government and the regional authorities must organise and put in place a real effort to support this urgent operation,” he said.

Another 700 people have left their homes in Ingal and Tabelot, also in the northeast region, the cabinet office statement said.

In the south of Niger, heavy rains have also displaced 2,177 people around the major town Zinder in the southeast, and 2,261 near Madaoua, and 1,372 at Dogon Doutchi, both in the southwest.

Government spokespeople were not immediately available for comment.

In its statement, the government said it has started trying to relocate people to administrative buildings, but warns the majority are still without shelter. It has also dispatched 100 tents, 200 cartons of rations, and 250 tonnes of emergency supplies.

It has also appealed for urgent donations of an addition 1050 tonnes of emergency food supplies, and mosquito nets and shelters sufficient for 17,504 people.

Widespread flooding has also been reported in neighbouring northern Burkina Faso. Reports last week estimated at least 6,000 people there had left their homes. Flooding has also been reported in Liberia and parts of southern Senegal.

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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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