More than 700,000 people affected by floods in West and Central Africa

Waters have yet to recede in parts of Niamey since torrential rains in August caused rivers to burst their banks, destroying nearly 32,000 houses and 5,768 hectares of farmland across Niger.

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Nigerien student Hachimou Abdou has had to catch a boat to classes since river water swamped his route to university in the capital Niamey – one of about 760,000 people hit by severe flooding in recent weeks in parts of West and Central Africa.

Floods are common during the rainy season, but in recent years climate change, land degradation and poor urban planning have led to more frequent disasters as rapidly-growing cities struggle with heavier-than-normal rainfall.Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Ghana, Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Congo Republic and Senegal are among those worst-hit this year, with at least 111 people killed, according to latest figures from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Waters have yet to recede in parts of Niamey since torrential rains in August caused rivers to burst their banks, destroying nearly 32,000 houses and 5,768 hectares of farmland across Niger.“I have to get to university – either I take a boat or I walk in the water,” Abdou said, before settling into a traditional wooden pirogue to travel up the flooded highway.

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