The heavy rains that have fallen on Niger since June and the severe flooding caused have killed 159 people and affected more than 225,000. This makes this rainy season one of the deadliest in the history of this country with a usually dry climate.
According to the figures of the Civil Protection services communicated Monday to the AFP, 159 deaths were recorded, 121 in the collapse of houses and 38 by drowning.
185 people were injured and 225,539 people affected, the same source said.
The death toll from these bad weather conditions is getting worse every week: the previous report, dated 4th September, stated that 103 people had died and 140,000 had been affected.
The areas around the cities of Maradi (south-central, 68 dead), Zinder (east-central, 48 dead), Dosso (southwest, 18 dead), and Tahoua (west, 16 dead) are the most affected.
The rains also completely destroyed or damaged more than 25,900 dwellings (houses, huts, and shelters), 71 classrooms, 6 health care centers, and 210-grain stores. Nearly 700 heads of livestock were also destroyed.
The bad weather has also favored the appearance of insects "pests" of crops, warned the Nigerien Ministry of Agriculture, which ensures that infested areas have been treated with insecticides.
Meteorological services are predicting further "heavy rains" until the end of September.
In Niamey, the capital of two million inhabitants, which has been relatively spared until now, the authorities strongly fear a flood of the Niger River, if the rains continue.
The Civil Protection services are broadcasting messages calling on residents to be "vigilant" and "to evacuate flood-prone areas".
The rainy season - between June and September - regularly causes deaths in Niger, including in the desert areas of the north, but the toll is particularly heavy this year.
In 2021, 70 people died and 200,000 were affected.
Niger is already experiencing a serious food crisis with, according to health authorities, more than 4.4 million people in "severe" food insecurity, i.e. 20% of the population.