MASSIVE flooding has caused widespread devastation in Niger - wiping out entire villages and killing at least 20 people, reports children's charity Plan International.
The floods, caused by heavy rain, have affected more than 50,000 people in large parts of the country.
The eastern provinces of Maradi and Zinder are among the worst-hit, while the capital Niamey is also under threat.
Thousands of families, many of whom were affected by last year's food crisis, have had their new crops destroyed - just six weeks before they were due to be harvested.
"Cereal stocks were washed away; if seedlings were planted, they have now been damaged or destroyed on flooded rice paddies," says Mamoudou Madougou, Plan's emergency response manager in Niger.
"Buildings have collapsed, there's nothing left in some areas," he adds.
The rains are expected to continue and it is feared the situation could get much worse.
Plan has already deployed aid workers to some of the affected areas.
"Eighty per cent of the worst affected people are children, who are in need of shelter, food and sanitation," says Mr Madougou.
"Most families are sheltering in schools and mosques and need assistance to re-locate in time for the start of the school year in October.
"Plan's focus will be on children - making sure they are safe from disease, have food supplies and are receiving the emotional support they need as the rains continue," he adds.
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