Floods ravage rice production in Niger's Diffa region

Floods destroyed more than 400 hectares of rice in Niger's southeastern Diffa region, already beset by deadly attacks by Boko Haram jihadists, the local governor said.

Nearly 3 000 tons of rice worth more than $1.13 million have been lost as a result, Governor Mahamadou Bakabe said on state television late on Sunday.

Grain deficits this year have already threatened food security for thousands of small farmers in Diffa, according to the government.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said last month that flooding in the semi-desert country had claimed 45 lives since June.

The rains destroyed nearly 17 400 homes and killed more than 33 000 heads of livestock, it said.

The Boko Haram insurgency, launched in northeast Nigeria in 2009, spilled over into Niger in early 2015, leaving hundreds of civilians dead.

The UN says the conflict has pushed more than 300 000 refugees and internally displaced people to the Diffa region.

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