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FAMILIES in Niger need food aid to help rebuild their lives devastated by floods, reports children’s charity Plan International.
More than 90,000 villagers are caught up in the crisis across large swathes of the poverty-hit West African country.
The suburbs of the capital Niamey, as well as Dosso, Tillaberi and Maradi are particularly badly affected.
Families hit by last year’s food crisis have had their homes and crops washed away - just six weeks before harvest.
“An initial assessment found that four-in-five of the worst affected are children in need of shelter, food and sanitation,” says Mamoudou Madougou, Plan’s emergency response manager in Niger.
“Many have found refuge in buildings such as schools, mosques and cereal banks – these people are in need of food and other aid to bring a sense of normality to their lives.”
Aid workers from the charity are distributing food, mosquito nets, blankets and medication kits in the coming days.
“The main risks are waterborne diseases, specifically cholera, possible food shortages, houses potentially collapsing and school abandonment,” says Mr Madougou.
More than 13,000 children have been affected in Dosso and Tillaberi, where Plan operates.
The charity hopes to provide psycho-social support to children who have fled their homes and forced to drop out of school.
The flash floods were caused by heavy rain, which fell across large parts of Niger at the end of last month – leaving 28 dead.
Aid workers fear the situation could get worse as Niger’s rainy season continues.
“Most farms and livestock have been destroyed, increasing food vulnerability and the threat of another food crisis,” says Mr Madougou.
“There is also the threat of a widespread locust infestation in northern parts of the country.”
For more information on Plan’s work or to make a donation call 0800 526 848 or visit www.plan-uk.org