NIAMEY - Torrential rains have left about a thousand people homeless over the past month in Ingal, a Tuareg region in the heart of the Sahel desert in Niger, a local governor said.

Many houses have been damaged and almost a hundred families, totalling "a thousand people, have found themselves homeless" Abba Malam Boukar, the governor of the nearby town of Agadez, said in a telephone interview with AFP.

Neighbouring Libya Tuesday dispatched by air humanitarian aid including tents, medicines and clothes to the disaster victims.

The Niger government and mining companies exploiting uranium in the north of the country have also distributed food and medicinal drugs.

Rain is quite rare in the northern desert of Niger, and a few tens of millimetres of rain are sometimes enough to crumble the houses built with clay mortar.

Located about 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Agadez, Ingal hosts a popular annual stock breeders' festival, whose 2006 edition is due next month.