Niamey – "The floods woke us at five in the morning. We could not take anything with us. We lost everything," said Roukeya Adamou, a victim of the floods that hit Niger during the rainy season in July 2021.

The Niger River divides Niger's capital Niamey in two. The left bank, the Rive Gauche, built on a plateau, serves as the economic centre of the city, and is home to government and international institutions, while the right bank, the Rive Droite, is built on an alluvial plain where the less urbanized neighbourhoods are located.

Roukeya Adamou has lived with her husband and ten children on the right bank for eight years, only a few meters away from the river. The lack of effective urban planning and the low standard of living in this area of Niamey has increased the population's exposure to floods. The Niger river overflows its banks during each rainy season, and causes severe flooding. Overnight, the waters burst into some parts of the city, leaving populations no time to save their belongings.

"We could not save any of our stuff. We sought refuge in a school with other affected families," says Roukeya. "But when the children had returned to class in the autumn, we had to go back and rebuild our houses," she adds.

Back home with her family, Roukeya and her husband tinkered with a makeshift shelter from straw with support from a few relatives.

Amina in front of the emergency shelter she received from IOM. Photo: IOM

The 2021 rainy season affected more than 250,000 people across 47 departments with loss of property, crops and livestock, and had caused 77 deaths by early October, according to OCHA.

Amina, a mother of seven, also found refuge at the school used as a temporary site for displaced families on the Rive Droite after floods destroyed her home.

"I lost my husband a long time ago. With only a few resources, I have to take care of my children on my own. Now we lost our home," says Amina. "The rains and the rising river destroyed our house, forcing us to move," says Amina.

In October 2021, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) received funding from the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) to assist flood victims in Niger. This funding aims to provide emergency shelter and non-food items to the affected populations in Niamey, as well as Dosso and Maradi, two regions in the southern country also crossed by the Niger River.

Amina inside the emergency shelter she received from IOM. Photo: IOM

So far, a total of 865 families have received emergency shelters and non-food items in Niamey and Dosso, and another 1,200 are expected to receive the same assistance in Maradi, via the General Directorate of Civil Protection (DGPC).

Amina and Roukeya both benefited from emergency shelters and non-food items.

"We now feel a little more comfortable with the shelter. We also received mats, cups, mosquito nets, blankets, clothes, dishes, utensils and soap," says Roukeya.

"Thanks to this shelter, we now have a roof and no longer sleep in the open with our children, and we feel safer," says Amina, adding that the emergency shelter comes at the right time for her family.

Alongside relief assistance, in the context of a cholera outbreak and COVID-19 pandemic, GFFO's funding contributes to the building of capacity of health system actors in Agadez and to the provision of testing materials and cold chain conservation equipment. The funding also supports assessment surveys to help tailor IOM’s response.

SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 13 - Climate Action