Torrential rains battering Niger since June have claimed 51 lives and destroyed 26,000 homes, affecting 281,0000 people, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Wednesday.

Several thousand hectares of cultivated farmland also have been swamped, threatening food production, OCHA said in a statement.

The United Nations and humanitarian partners in support of the government’s response efforts have supplied non-food items to various regions of one of the world’s poorest and driest countries, the humanitarian office said.

The world organization has provided 4,700 shelter kits to refugees and internally displaced people in Niamey, the capital, in the south of the Sahel nation, and the Diffa region, in the extreme southeast, near the border of Nigeria.

OCHA said more than 72,000 people have received assistance with priority needs of food, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, education and protective services.

Additional funding is required to continue providing timely aid to the impacted population, the office said.

Its Financial Tracking Service reported the 516 million U.S. dollars required for this year’s aid has reached only about 38 percent funding.

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