Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Africa flooding spreads, 22 countries hit: UN

Terra Daily, via Agence France-Presse: Flooding across a swathe of Africa now affects 22 countries, including Ethiopia, Niger and Sudan where the situation has worsened in recent days, the United Nations said Monday. More than 800,000 people are now affected by torrential rains in those three countries alone, compared to around 700,000 recorded last week, according to data from the UN humanitarian coordination office.

OCHA said last Friday that an estimated 1.5 million people in 18 countries had been affected since the worst downpours in 30 years started sweeping the continent in August. The most severe flooding has struck Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Sudan, Togo and Uganda, OCHA spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said.

Fresh rain in western Ethiopia has brought renewed flooding to the town of Gambela as well as villages and crops in the region, Byrs told AFP, raising the total number of people affected in the country to 226,000. About 70,800 people were forced to flee their homes. "The river Washibelle is overflowing and its level is continuing to increase every day," she added.

In Niger, 48,500 people have been affected by ongoing floods, compared to 16,700 recorded by the government there just days ago, Byrs said. OCHA said another 100,000 people were recently affected in Sudan, where the total stood at 550,000 late last week. The South Kordofan region in eastern Darfur, where 20 people have died, is among the hardest hit, with about 30,000 homeless, Byrs said.

She said donors had so far only contributed one million dollars (700,000 euros) to a 20-million-dollar appeal for relief aid for Sudanese flood victims launched at the end of August.

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