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Latest update : 2009-09-03

Heavy rainfall has triggered floods across West Africa, killing at least five people, leaving thousands homeless in Burkina Faso, and smashing infrastructure in Niger and Senegal.

REUTERS - Five people were killed and 150,000 left homeless in Burkina Faso on Wednesday as heavy rainfall triggered flooding across West Africa.

In neighbouring Niger, at least two people were killed and 20,000 left without shelter because of the rain that has also caused major floods in Senegal.

"We have been able to find shelter for about 110,000 people but there are others who have taken refuge with their neighbours," Burkina Prime Minister Tertius Zongo told reporters after an emergency cabinet meeting.

"There are at least 150,000 people to cater for."

Aid groups in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou, which has a population of about 1 million, said the flood water had smashed bridges and roads and could hamper their work.

"Bridges and dams have been destroyed, the main hospital in Ouagadougou which is close to a dam was inundated and some patients including about 60 children were evacuated," Rosine Jourdain of the Belgian Red Cross in Burkina Faso said by phone.

"An electrical plant was also destroyed so I think we are going to have some power supply problems."

In Niger, thousands were made homeless by flooding in the uranium-rich region of Agadez when their homes collapsed after the river Kora burst its banks.

An official source said at least two bodies had been found and that three people were missing.

Ali Hamidou, a craftsman and resident of the town of Agadez, said: "This is one of the worst disasters in the history of Agadez."

Seasonal rains from June regularly cause fatal floods and mudslides in West Africa. In 2007, about 300 people were killed and more than 800,000 were affected when homes, crops and infrastructure were washed away.

Date created : 2009-09-03