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Niger rains kill dozens, displaces thousands

Authorities appeal to residents in at-risk areas to evacuate and take shelter in schools.

Niamey in June

Officials in Niger say torrential rains have killed at least 44 people in the capital, Niamey, and other parts of the West African country.

Colonel Aboubacar Bako, director general of civil Protection and disasters, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying on Tuesday that hundreds of houses were destroyed in rains just outside Niamey in recent days, forcing people to evacuate. 

He said the rains began Saturday in the capital and surrounding areas.

Images posted on social media showed dirt roads turned to puddles of mud, making it difficult for vehicles to navigate in the city of over a million people.  

Saley Abdouhe, the head of Gabougoura village, has appealed to residents in at-risk areas to evacuate and take shelter in schools.

Abdouhe said the main cause of flooding is the obstruction of drainage channels.

Some neighbourhoods have dug ravines to ease the damage.

The government said it is providing emergency food assistance to the victims, while aid organisations are providing shelter and other immediate help.

Some schools in the area have been turned into evacuation centres, according to news reports.

In June, flooding across Niger killed 41 people, according to the country's civil protection agency.

Last year more than 50 people were also reported killed from flooding.

Niamey lies along the Niger River, making it vulnerable to flooding every year.


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