The rise of the River Niger caused by the torrential rains that hit Niger in recent days has reached the Orange Level alert since Thursday and is likely to shift to red in Niamey, the capital of Niger.
Authorities began evacuating villages threatened by the overflow of the river that covers nine West African states.
“It is not impossible to trigger the red alert within 48 hours, if the water continues to rise,” LaouanMagagi, Niger’s Minister for Humanitarian Action and Disaster Management, told JeuneAfrique.
“On the morning of Monday, September 11, the water level rose from 589 cm to 595 cm over a limit of 620 cm,” added LaouanMagagi.
According to the minister, the local flooding of the Niger River, triggered by the torrential rains that have occurred since mid-August that have caused dozens of deaths, is manifested by rapidly rising water levels in Niamey. “The rise has accelerated its last days to reach the orange alert rating in Niamey,” said the minister.
According to a statement issued by the Niger Basin Authority (NBA), since September 1,the hydrometric station of Niamey had reached the “yellow” warning level. The yellow alert lasted 7 days until September 7, 2017, with a gradual rise in water level to reach the limit of this zone, set at 580 cm.
The Orange alert rating was reached on 7 September. “Forecasts and observations upstream of Niamey show that the orange alert will last the next three days,” continued the minister in charge of natural disaster management.
Villages evacuated to Gaya and Niamey
This disturbing rise of the waters of the River Niger is closely monitored by the authorities. According to Minister Magigi, some 15 villages are directly concerned and nearly 40,000 inhabitants could be evacuated.
“Three villages in the department of Gaya, on the east coast of the river and on the border with Nigeria, have already been evacuated,” the minister added, adding that an island in Niamey could also be evacuated as soon as possible. “The arrangements are made to move about 520 households on the island of Niamey, that would make about 35,000 inhabitants,” said the minister.
All the victims will be under the trees. These floods occur as Niger prepares for the start of the school year, scheduled for 15 September, when most of the victims have been evacuated to schools. According to the Red Cross, everyone in these schools will be forced to leave.
“The totality of the victims will find themselves under the trees,” AmadouTidjaniAmadou, a communications officer with the Red Cross Niger, said. Questioned by JeuneAfrique, he questioned the advisability of maintaining the date of re-entry in these conditions. “The ball is in the camp of the officials of the National Education,” concluded the Red Cross spokesman.
Source: Niger in the web