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Floods sweep Niger after drought

Drought-stricken Niger has been struck by devastating flooding, aid agencies have said.

Crop failure combined with a severe drought had already thrust tens of thousands of people into a perilous state in Niger and neighbouring Chad in the Sahel region of central North Africa.

But now severe flooding is making the situation even worse, Save the Children said today.

Heavy rainfall since the end of July has inundated six regions of Niger, affecting more than 58,000 people.

Houses have collapsed and rotting animal carcasses are contaminating flood water, spreading disease, the agency said.

The region of Zinder in the south of the country has been hit hardest, with 28,000 people affected.

More than 37,000 animals have drowned in the floodwaters.

Zinder is also one of the regions suffering most from the current food crisis.

Ibrahima Fall, country director for Save the Children in Niger, said: "During the rainy season malaria and water-borne diseases kill more children aged under five than anything else.

"Children in Zinder are already incredibly vulnerable as they have been without enough food for months and their immune systems are already desperately weak."

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