17 Aug 2010

Niger faces famine as flood follows drought

1:30 pm on 17 August 2010

Floodwaters have caused widespread devastation in the West African state of Niger.

After a prolonged drought, heavy rains have now hit parts of the country, killing at least six people, the BBC reports.

UN's World Food Programme says, with almost half the population - or 7.3 million people - in desperate need of food.

The charity Save the Children says nearly 300,000 children are at risk from massive food shortages.

The United Nations said more than 67,000 people lost their homes after severe rains in the past week.

The River Niger - the third largest in Africa - reached its highest level for 80 years, but the rains came too late to rescue this year's crops, which have already failed.