Niger's flood death toll rises to 55

Niamey (AFP) –


Heavy rains that have lashed the West African state of Niger since June have claimed 55 lives and left 53,000 people homeless, authorities said on Thursday.

More than 4,800 homes have been damaged by floods or landslips, and nearly 900 cattle have been lost, Colonel Bako Boubacar, the head of the civil protection agency, said on state radio.

The worst-hit regions are Maradi in the southeast, Agadez in the desert north and the capital Niamey, where 16 have died.

An impoverished landlocked country in the Sahel, Niger struggles with chronic aridity and heat.

The rainy season is short, typically lasting from June to August or September, although in recent years it has been exceptionally strong.

Last year, floods claimed 73 lives and sparked a humanitarian crisis with 2.2 million people needing assistance, according to the United Nations. In 2019, 57 died.

The previous toll from this year's rainy season, issued on July 31, stood at 35 dead and 26,532 people homeless.