Niger floods force 23,000 from their homes

NIAMEY (AFP) – Floods in southeast Niger have forced 23,000 people to flee their homes since early October, officials said yesterday, threatening a new humanitarian crisis in a region already wracked by Boko Haram violence.

Heavy rains have caused the Komadougou Yobe river that flows through the semi-desert Diffa region into Lake Chad to burst its banks, inundating villages, flooding fields and damaging crops.

Two villages near the city of Diffa were “completely submerged” and 2,500 households have been forced to move, according to national radio the Voice of the Sahel.

Some 400 families were sheltering in a gym in the city, it added. “We have been fighting for days to stop the water rising, but it’s not working,” Amadou Issa, a rice farmer, told AFP. “The sandbags we’ve been using to keep the water out are completely under water.”