our observers tell us about the unprecedented floods in West Africa

In Niger, where the floods were particularly devastating, authorities counted on at least Tuesday, September 8 65 dead and more than 300,000 victims, while several districts of Niamey, the capital, were still under water. The floods also destroyed more than 5,000 hectares of cultivation, especially rice fields. On the spot, our observer Abdel Nasser Ali Hamani, known as Kountché Fandou, is trying to mobilize his network to help those who have lost everything. On WhatsApp, this resident in the fourth district manages a support group:

I created a “Solidarité Sans Frontière” group on WhatsApp during Covid-19. During these floods, we used this group to help the victims and encourage people to take individual action. The fifth district, especially the Harobanda district, has been experiencing floods for more than a week. Since the day before yesterday (Monday, September 7), it is the Saga district, in the fourth arrondissement, that the water has flowed out everywhere and is rising. People are being tested, some have no place to move, no help. On the street outside, the victims are with their belongings and do not know where to go. There are displaced persons who have received protection in school classes, but sometimes there are five families in the same place, without blankets, without food.

Because it is anarchy, people use it to steal other people’s business. But we must help each other. In my WhatsApp group, we call by making short videos and we explain that it can take five minutes to drop clothes for a family in need. We have also started collecting, especially from the diaspora.

I’m 38 years old and I’ve never seen this. In 2012, there had been significant floods, but not to this extent. Areas that are wiped off the map are a first for me. And nothing was planned to protect the population: it had been necessary to evacuate neighborhoods near the river. People are exhausted and storage and security are lacking.

Pictures sent by Abdel Nasser Ali Hamani, known as Kountché Fandou and taken on September 9 at the corniche Gamkallé in Niamey.

Interviewed it RFI, Guillaume Favreau, hydrologist and representative of the Institute for Research and Development in Niger, confirms that the situation is exceptional. If the intensification of precipitation observed throughout West Africa is one of the factors, he also cites local issues, including particularly significant soil erosion and deforestation.>> SEE AND FRANCE 24: Floods in the Sahel: dozens killed

On 5 and 6 September, Senegal also experienced unusually intense rainfall. Least six people died according to an official number of deaths. Highly criticizedSenegalese President Macky Sall on Tuesday, September 8, announced a plan for 10 billion CFA francs (more than EUR 15 million) to deal with the floods.