On Saturday, August 29, officials in Niger reported that at least 45 people have been killed and more than 226,000 people have been displaced across Niger over the past week due to flooding. Western regions have been worst-hit, including the capital Niamey. Heavy rain since Monday, August 24, has affected at least 25,800 homes, damaged hundreds of granaries, and led to the collapse of 64 classrooms and 24 mosques. Many riverine settlements and agricultural areas have been heavily damaged by the floods in Kirkissoye district. Prime Minister Brigi Rafini has been to visit some of the worst affected areas.
Further heavy rainfall and associated flooding and disruptions are possible over the near term.
Flooding can pose a major hazard during the wet season, which generally runs from June to October. During this period, flash floods can occur with no notice and inundate roads and wash away poorly constructed buildings. During the 2019 rainy season, more than 50 people were killed and another 211,366 affected as torrential rainfall lashed Niger. The country's worst episode of flooding was reported during the 2012 rainy season when 92 people were killed and 530,000 displaced nationwide. Roads, including in urban centers, are often rendered impassable due to floodwaters, hampering disaster response efforts as well as hindering overland movements. Vulnerable communities along Niger's main rivers have historically been loath to relocate and authorities lack the means and funds to effectively mitigate the impact of future flooding. In addition, changes in rain patterns since the 1990s in the Sahel region, including Niger, have pointed to consistently above-average rainfall, most likely resulting in more frequent flooding.
Those in Niger are advised to monitor local weather reports, anticipate transportation disruptions, avoid areas directly affected by flooding, confirm road conditions before setting out, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, including evacuation orders. Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters.
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