Widespread floods leave 19 dead, more than 50 000 affected in Niger

Widespread floods leave 19 dead, more than 50 000 affected in Niger

Widespread floods have caused 19 fatalities and affected more than 50 000 people in Niger since June 2020. Floods continued into August as heavy rains kept pouring, with the capital Niamey recording 67 mm (2.6 inches) of rain in 24 hours to Friday, August 7 - less than half of the city's average rainfall for the month of August. As of Saturday, August 8, the Niger River stood at 5.8 m (19 feet), approaching Orange alert level or Level 3 of 4.

Since the start of the rainy season in June, the death toll due to weather-related incidents has climbed to 19, the government reported on August 7.

Meanwhile, 35 people sustained injuries. 

10 of the casualties lost their lives due to drowning while nine of them were buried when houses collapsed.

A total of 53 202 people have been affected across 146 villages in more than 50 municipalities, the government added.

Among the worst-affected areas are the regions of Dosso, Maradi, Tahoua, and Tillabery.

A previous official count last month put the number of fatalities at nine and the number of impacted people at 20 000.

Flooding has damaged buildings, including schools, lashed wide swaths of crops, and killed numerous livestock.

According to media, more than 5 000 houses have been partially or entirely destroyed.

Flooding worsened as heavy rains continued into August. Niamey registered 67 mm (3 inches) of rain in a 24-hour period to Friday, which was less than half of the city's average rainfall for the month of August of 167 mm (6.5 inches).

niger-flood-aug-2020

Image credit: OCHA Niger

Heavy downpours also caused the water levels to increase in the Niger River, which was standing at 5.8 m (19 feet) as of Saturday.

The river is now approaching Orange alert level, the third out of four levels, with red being the fourth and highest.

The national meteorological office forecasts more "significant storms in the days ahead," and the civil protection agency warned the public to be vigilant of the extreme weather.

In addition, Niger's agricultural minister Albade Abouba warned that 'a major threat from desert locusts is looming on the horizon' and expected to hit the country in September.

Featured image credit: OCHA Niger

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