NIAMEY (Reuters) - At least 12 people have been killed and more than 36,000 made homeless in Niger due to flooding caused by heavy seasonal rainfall, the government said.
Floods are an annually recurring problem in the West African country during the rainy season when overflowing streams and rivers sweep away homes and destroy crops, leaving victims without shelter and creating food shortages later on.
"Heavy precipitation recorded in six regions caused flooding and serious damage," the office of Niger's prime minister said in a statement late on Friday. "Evaluations by the civil protection services uncovered 12 deaths."
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), citing government figures, said that 36,441 people had lost their homes in the floods as of Aug. 21.
"The rains are continuing and the damage could require the deployment of more means in terms of emergency food and non-food assistance and tents," OCHA said in a statement.
Largely desert Niger, one of Africa's newest oil producers a leading producer of uranium, remains one of the world's least developed countries.
(Reporting by Abdoulaye Massalaki; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)