Emergency officials in Niger say torrential rains have destroyed hundreds of houses outside the capital, Niamey.

Colonel Aboubacar Bako, director general of civil protection and disasters, was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying on Tuesday that residents were forced to evacuate after several days of heavy downpours. 

Bako said the rains began on Saturday in the capital and surrounding areas.

According to Niger's government, the rains have killed at least 44 people in Niamey and other parts of the West African country since June.

Images posted on social media showed dirt roads turned to puddles of mud, making it difficult for vehicles to navigate Niamey, a city of more than a million people.

Saley Abdouhe, the head of Gabougoura village, has appealed to residents in at-risk areas to evacuate and take shelter in schools.

Abdouhe said the main cause of flooding is the obstruction of drainage channels.

Some neighbourhoods have dug ravines to ease the damage.

The government said it is providing emergency food assistance to the victims, while aid organisations are providing shelter and other immediate help.

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Some schools in the area have been turned into evacuation centres, according to news reports.

Last year more than 50 people were also reported killed from flooding.

Niamey lies along the Niger River, making it vulnerable to flooding every year.

 

Source: News agencies