Monday, August 20, 2007

East Africa floods displace hundreds of thousands

Terra Daily via Agence France-Presse: Heavy rains continued to wreak havoc in East Africa Saturday, as floods that have already displaced hundreds of thousands heightened fears of food shortages and disease outbreaks across the region.

In Kampala, Uganda's minister for relief, disaster preparedness and refugees, Musa Ecweru, said high waters had submerged entire villages and destroyed many farms in the east of the country… The minister estimated the number of people displaced by the floods to be around 150,000.

"Cholera cases have been reported and we are working with the health ministry to mitigate the problems," he added.

…Neighbouring regions in Kenya have also been affected, with more than 1,000 families displaced after heavy rains in the western highlands caused a river to burst its banks and flood villages.

"More families have been marooned and we are in the process of rescuing them," Anthony Mwangi of the Kenya Red Cross Society told AFP. "No one has died, no one has been injured and everybody has been accounted for." Mwangi warned that the persistent rains risked causing the river Nzoia to breach another dyke and flood more villages.

In Sudan, six weeks of deluge have directly affected at least 365,000 people, destroyed crops, food stocks, farmlands and livestock, according to the United Nations, which has launched an appeal for funds. In a statement released on Friday, the UN mission in Sudan said some 150,000 people had been left without shelter, mainly in the south of the country.

In nearby Eritrea, heavy rain in the western lowlands have delayed crop planting and washed away bridges. In late July, more than 10,000 people had been displaced by heavy rains in western Ethiopia. Last year, more than 600 people were killed and hundreds of thousands affected by unusually heavy floods that ravaged several regions in Ethiopia.

No comments: