200 000 homeless in Niger

2010-08-29 14:11

Niamey - Floods in Niger, which is already going through a severe food crisis, have left nearly 200 000 people homeless, the United Nations said on Saturday.

The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said nearly 30 000 homes have been lost in the flooding which has struck the sub-Saharan nation since the beginning of the month.

The figures are nearly double the estimate OCHA released just five days previously.

All of Niger's regions have been affected either by the heavy rains or the flooding of the Niger river.

With many suffering from the food crisis afflicting the country, the floods have hit people hard, said OCHA.

"The losses are very important for people who have not yet recovered from the effects of the food, nutritional and farm crises," OCHA said in a statement.

Incidence of diarrhoea and malaria have already risen in flood-hit areas, it added.

OCHA said nearly 10 000 tonnes of food, 60 000 blankets and 34 000 mosquito nets are needed for the flood victims.

A drought last year led to major shortfalls in food production, and the UN estimates that more than seven million people, or about half Niger's population, risk food shortages if they get no help.