Floods : more than 200,000 people affected in 2019
According to information released on September 20 by the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and by the national Civil Protection, 211,366 people have been affected by the floods in Niger since August 2019. The toll is of 57 deaths and 16,375 houses damaged by the waters. Three regions account for 67% of the affected people : Zinder (80,534 people), Maradi (28,847 people) and Agadez (31,222 people).
More than two-thirds of the victims (about 150,000 people) were recorded only over the last two weeks, between September 2 and September 20, mainly because of the heavy rains recorded in the Niger Basin and the overloading of dams containing waters in Burkina Faso and Mali.
Already on August 30th, the government alerted the population and the humanitarian organizations based in the country that the river Niger had passed the flood stage of 620cm and reached the 640cm. The last time the flood stage had been reached by the river, in 2012, the floods had left dozens of dead and affected the living conditions of nearly 500,000 people.
Nevertheless, the damage assessment for this year already exceeds all the forecasts made by the most relevant national plans, including the ones presented in the 2019’s Humanitarian Needs Overview, which estimated that 170 000 people would have been exposed to the risks of floods, and the ones presented by the National Forecast Agency, which considered 200,000 people at risk of being affected.
At the same time, there is a slight increase compared with the toll of floods in 2018, when at this same period Niger recorded about 200,000 victims including 45 deaths and more than 17,389 houses collapsed (against a forecast of 170,000 people). These results confirm an upward trend in the number of people affected since 2015 (103,000 in 2015, 146,000 in 2016, 206,000 in 2017 and 208,000 in 2018), which over the last five years has seen gradually doubling the number of people affected, causing significant material damage, the destruction of several hectares of crops and consistent loss of livestock.
The government and its partners are currently working to assist the affected people in the priority sectors of shelter and non-food items, food security and WASH. Distributions of Shelter and NFI kits have been activated by several partners in the different regions within the limited availability of pre-existing stocks. At the same time, the national Food Crisis Cell has set up food distributions for the affected communities of Niamey who have found shelter in schools and public facilities. However, the response provided up to now is not commensurate with the urgent needs identified in the different sectors and significant gaps remain to be filled.
A Floods Crisis cell was activated to jointly develop a response plan with the State and its partners.