Children die as flooded homes collapse

At least nine children have died as houses in Niger’s capital, Niamey, collapsed following heavy rain.

Report says the rain has caused floods and extensive damage, including to one of the main markets in the city centre.

“Homes collapsed in several parts of the city, trapping or killing those inside,” Secretary General of the local authority, Zourkaleini Maiga said.

The UN had warned earlier that 106,000 people in Niger were at risk of floods.

One woman told local television that three of her four children had died while sheltering from the rain by the wall of a neighbour’s house.

According to reports, two television channels, Tele-Sahel and Tal-TV, had their programming interrupted on Tuesday evening when their studios flooded.

One blogger posted images purporting to show a tanker and other vehicles that had come off the road as one of the bridges gave way.

Niger’s government declared a state of emergency on the country’s state roads following the bridge collapses.

“Road users should henceforth be very careful and take precautionary measures while travelling on the roads as anything can happen. The federal roads in the state are no longer safe.

“I advise drivers of trucks and articulated vehicles to be conscious especially when approaching a bridge,” Niger’s state commissioner for information Jonathan Vatsa said.

The rainy season in Niger, which lasts for at least three months, has just started.

Floods last year affected thousands of people and killed dozens, mainly in the desert regions of Agadez and Tahoua.

Confidence Okwuchi/BBC