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Flood victims still out in the desert cold

[Niger] Sabila, 15 has been repeatedly mistreated by her slave master, often being raped. She was born into slavery. She is one of among 43,000 people enslaved in the West African country - who earn no money for their efforts. Most are physically and ofte
Mud-walled houses like this one washed away during floods in Bilma in August last year (IRIN/ G. Cranston)

Thousands of people in northern Niger who lost their homes in floods last August are still living in emergency shelters and struggling to survive cold desert weather.

Temperatures in northern Niger’s exposed deserts can soar to 40 degrees in daytime, but drop to 10 degrees or less at night.

“It is very cold and windy now,” said Jerry Niati, regional disaster manager at the International Federation of the Red Cross in Dakar (IFRC). “The government was supposed to start building new structures in January, but it will take time.”

The August floods in Bilma, near the regional capital Agadez in northern Niger, destroyed around 1,200 houses and made 4,400 people homeless when their mud-walled houses were washed away.

Niati said the people who lost their homes are all living in emergency shelters, mostly tents.

The IFRC has appealed for US $38,400 from the Federation’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to buy blankets and warm clothing for the 1,520 children it says are living in the tent-cities.

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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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