Aid groups are having a hard time mobilizing aid for the northern part of Niger’s Tahoua region. Hard to reach in dry weather, the area is now practically inaccessible due to floods caused by an unusual amount of rainfall last month.
The situation in Tilia, formerly known as Tchin-Tabaraden, was already dire before the floods hit. The region was affected by the food security crisis in the country and saw its population rise 60 percent over the past months due to the arrival of more than 15,000 refugees from conflict-torn areas of Mali.
Then, when the heavy rains and floods hit at the end of July, a lot of houses were destroyed and livestock were lost, Jacqueline Johnson, country director for Niger of nongovernmental organization Africare, told Devex.
“It’s a double whammy,” she said, adding that the effect of rapid swelling of water and loss of assets was devastating for a number of households.
Aid is not coming in as easily as well. Tilia has limited infrastructure compared with the rest of Niger, Johnson said, and the rains have washed out the roads aid groups normally use to reach the area. Aid groups and the government, according to Johnson, have to wait for the water to recede before they can send trucks of aid.
Rains and floods are an almost annual occurrence in Niger. Dosso, located further south than Tahoua, in fact is experiencing similar floods, as Devex has reported.
Niger does appear more prepared this time around. Johnson shared that the government is developing contingency plans to identify risks of flooding and food insecurity. Africare, meanwhile, is helping assess the losses from the floods and preparing, along with the World Food Program, aid for children and pregnant and lactating women.
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