Integrated Regional Information Networks | September 13, 2010
Heavy rains have displaced almost 200,000 people in Niger. Flooding has left families homeless in remote regions such as Diffa, in the southeast of the country. The floods are inundating the same regions which were struck by severe food insecurity earlier this year. Over seven million people in Niger are still affected by food shortages.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, is calling on donors and aid agencies to send shelter materials, blankets and mosquito nets.
Modibo Traoré is head of OCHA in Niger. He says, “Response in rural areas has been slow thus far.” Flood-displaced families in remote areas have received no assistance to date.
In the northern city of Agadez, some 80,000 animals, already weakened by the food security crisis, have died in the floods. Mr. Traoré says, “We must find a way to quickly burn or bury their bodies to ensure water sources are not contaminated.”
Yacouba Daouda is an agricultural official in Karma region, in Niger’s southwest. He says that rains from late July to early August destroyed about 1,400 hectares of crops, including rice, sorghum and cassava. Mr. Daouda says, “These crops are flooded. Sand swallowed them; only fruit trees survive.”
The government is sending 400 tonnes of food to people displaced by flood waters. It has released 200,000 American dollars (about 160,000 Euros) in emergency funding to purchase more food.
Mr. Traoré warns that the flooding could worsen. “The rainy season is still continuing, so victim numbers may rise even further.”
You can read another report and analysis of the situation in Niger, with audio and slideshow links here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8954000/8954490.stm.
For a general background on Niger and its food security situation see: http://www.wfp.org/countries/niger.
Updates from the UN can be accessed via: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=35769&Cr=+niger+&Cr1=.