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Two die as floods hit drought-stricken Niger

by Staff Writers
Niamey (AFP) Aug 14, 2010
Two children were killed after heavy rains in drought-stricken Niger left nearly 70,000 people homeless, UN sources and state television said Saturday.

The children died Friday in the central southern region of Maradi when a wall of their home in the town of Tessaoua collapsed, the television reported.

The deaths brought to six the number of people killed since the end of July as a result of severe rains and the worst flooding of the Niger river for more than 80 years.

United Nations agencies said that between August 9 and 12 a total of 67,818 people had lost their homes in Maradi, the capital Niamey, Zinder and Diffa regions in the east, Tahoua and Tilleberi in the west and even Agadez in the northern desert.

Food, tents, medical supplies, mosquito nets and blankets had been sent to the affected areas by the World Food Programme and the children's agency Unicef, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

After a long drought, the poor sub-Saharan country in west Africa is confronted with a food crisis that threatens seven million people, or almost half the population, according to the UN.

Niger is at the epicentre of a famine that has also hit Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad and Mali, after the past year's insufficient or irregular rains left poor crops and a desperate shortage of cattle feed.

But at the same time torrential rains and flooding have devastated parts of Niger, Chad and Central African Republic.

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Dakar (AFP) Aug 14, 2010
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