Flooding in Niger leaves 28 dead

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IOL news aug23 niger flood AFP Heavy rains caused flooding in many parts of Niger. File picture: Caroline Gluck

Niamey -

Twenty-eight people have been killed and more than 51 000 affected by flooding in Niger after heavy rains in June inundated swathes of the impoverished nation, the United Nations said on Thursday.

The weather has destroyed more than 4 500 homes and more than 100 hectares of fields and gardens, according to data from the UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Niamey.

The figures are sharply higher than the last UN estimates on August 12, which said 12 people had died and 27 000 had been affected by the flooding.

Floods are an annual problem in Niger as seasonal rains often cause streams and rivers to burst their banks, sweeping away homes and destroying crops.

Niger ranks at the bottom of the United Nations' Human Development Index, with more than 60 percent of the population living below the poverty line.

Most of the country has been hit by the floods, with the exception of the eastern desert region, home to more than 80 000 refugees who have fled violence in neighbouring Nigeria.

The government launched an appeal for aid in mid-August for those affected by the rising waters.

In 2012, floods in Niger killed dozens of people and affected 500 000 more, causing an estimated 148 million euros of damage, according to official figures. - Sapa-AFP

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