The floods which began earlier this month have been blamed for at least five deaths and the loss of 100,000 cattle, according to Modibo Traoré, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Niger, who noted that the numbers could increase in the coming days.“We have still one month ahead for the rainy season and currently the rainfall is continuing almost throughout the country, and we may expect much more victims of the flood,” he cautioned in an interview with UN Radio. Mr. Traoré said the most immediate needs are food – about 10,000 tons – as well as shelter materials, blankets and mosquito nets. The food security situation in the West African was already dire owing to a prolonged drought that has caused crop failure and livestock deaths. An assessment carried out in April indicated that over 7 million people, or about 46 per cent of Niger’s population, are suffering from moderate or severe food insecurity. 30 August 2010The United Nations humanitarian arm is seeking urgent assistance for Niger, where recent flooding has displaced nearly 200,000 people and aggravated a food crisis in which almost half of the country’s 15 million people are experiencing hunger.