UNDP helping recovery efforts in flood-affected Niger UNDP helping recovery efforts in flood-affected Niger

06 Sep 2012

imageCarrying personal belonging away from flooded areas in Niamey any way they can. (Photo Credit: OCHA/Franck Kuwonu)

As humanitarian agencies mobilize emergency aid in support of the victims of Niger’s recent floods, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is working with UN agencies and the Government to assess needs and kick-start early recovery activities.

Heavy rains and the exceptional increase in the water level of the Niger River has led to heavy flooding across this already poverty-stricken country. Around 400,000 people have been affected, at least 52 people are reported to have died and 15,000 homes, mostly made of mud bricks, have collapsed. Agricultural land, harvests and cattle stocks have also been destroyed.

Most of the victims have taken refuge in schools or with families living outside of the flooded areas. The Tillabéry region, situated north of the capital Niamey, is the hardest hit with 167,097 people affected.

The disaster comes as the country struggles to cope with food insecurity, an invasion of locusts, a cholera epidemic, and a complex emergency in neighboring Mali that has caused thousands of refugees to cross the border into Niger.

The World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the Red Cross of Niger and local humanitarian partners are supporting the Government’s efforts to provide food, water, shelter and emergency healthcare to the victims. It is estimated that 20,000 households are in urgent need of these services.

UNDP has been working with these organizations to assess needs, manage the resulting data and plan a transition from emergency support to long-term development. As part of this effort, UNDP will be dispatching experts to assess early recovery needs in the four most heavily affected regions, all of them situated in the southern and south-western parts of the country.

UNDP will also mobilize US$1 million to support the reconstruction and rehabilitation of homes, schools, health centers, wells and small-scale irrigation infrastructure, while supporting smallholder farmers and pastoralists by providing cattle and farming equipment.

To help the country to prepare and minimize the impact of future natural disasters, UNDP helped to conduct a nationwide vulnerability study and trained 60 institutions involved in the management and prevention of crises and natural disasters.