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Almost 200 dead as Niger floods toll rises

Flooding caused by torrential rain in Niger has left 195 people dead and affected more than 322,000, an official toll showed on Saturday.

[FILES] Flood (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Flooding caused by torrential rain in Niger has left 195 people dead and affected more than 322,000, an official toll showed on Saturday.

This year’s rainy season is one of the deadliest in the West African country’s history.

As of October 21, 59 people had drowned and 136 had died in collapsing homes, while 211 people were reported injured, according to figures from the Civil Protection Service seen by AFP.

Earlier this month it said rainy-season floods had claimed 192 lives and affected more than 263,000 people in Niger, located in the heart of the arid Sahel.

The rains have damaged more than 30,000 homes, 83 classrooms, six health centres and 235 grain stores.

The worst-affected regions are Maradi and Zinder in the centre of the country, Dosso in the southwest and Tahoua in the west.

The rainy season, which starts in June and can last until October, regularly claims lives, but the toll has been particularly heavy this year.

In 2021, 70 people were killed and 200,000 people were affected. The death toll in 2020 was 73.

In neighbouring Nigeria, more than 600 people have died since June in the deadliest floods in a decade.

“According to all our studies, we can link these rains to climate change,” head of the national meteorological agency Katiellou Gaptia Lawan told AFP.

The “rainfall is intense”, while runoff water can no longer make its way into the soil because it has been “degraded by human activity”, he explained.

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