Presentation on theme: "Million hit by floods in Africa More than a million people across a swathe of 17 African countries are suffering the effects of severe floods. Latest reports."— Presentation transcript:
Million hit by floods in Africa More than a million people across a swathe of 17 African countries are suffering the effects of severe floods. Latest reports say 250 people have died and hundreds of thousands of homes have been washed away on some of the continent's most fertile land. The UN now fears the floods could lead to major outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as cholera and dysentery. OCHA spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said: "The rains are set to continue and we are really concerned". West Africa Ghana has set up an inter-ministerial task force to oversee both immediate relief and long-term reconstruction of the three northern regions devastated by the floods. Eighteen people have died there and thousands made homeless. Also badly affected are Burkina Faso (33 dead), Togo (20 dead), Mali (15 dead), and Niger (12 dead). French military helicopters were helping relief efforts in nearby Ivory Coast, while officials in Togo were dealing with more than 60,000 displaced people and a wrecked infrastructure. Countries in East Africa regularly flood at this time of year, but West African nations are much less able to deal with the deluge, the World Food Programme says. East Africa In East Africa, the brunt of the torrential rain was felt in Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes across southern Sudan where the death toll has reached 64. The UN relief co-ordinator in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, John Clarke, told the BBC more than 250,000 had been left homeless there. The UN diverted a helicopter from Darfur in Sudan to airlift food and medical supplies to affected areas. Meanwhile, Rwandan officials reported 15 deaths and 500 homes washed away since Wednesday in flooding they blame on deforestation. In its neighbour Uganda, some 21 deaths are being reported from flooding with 150,000 people displaced and more than 170 schools in the northeast are underwater. The swampy Budalangi region of Kenya floods most years - but people were still caught out by the speed of the rising waters and at least 12 died. An estimated 200,000 people have been affected in Ethiopia where at least 17 people died and a massive food aid programme has been set up. "In Kenya or Ethiopia these countries are facing floods every year and year after year, they have set up some contingency plans," the WFP's Pierre Lucas told the BBC.
African floods prompt aid appeal Aid agencies have started appealing for funds to assist people hit by the floods in several African countries. United Nations agencies are seeking extra funds for Uganda, where the government has declared an emergency. The British Red Cross has launched an emergency appeal for flood-affected areas across Africa. The UN says 1.5 million people are affected by the floods which have hit a swathe of countries from the east to the west of the continent. The British Red Cross will work alongside the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to "provide urgently needed relief, including shelter and water purification tablets, to those affected by the crisis," a statement from the organisation said. The World Food Programme (WFP) has launched a $60m appeal for food aid to Uganda alone. The floods are said to be the worst in many countries for decades, with 250 killed and more than 600,000 displaced. One area particularly badly affected is northern Ghana, where the White Volta River burst its banks following days of torrential rain and large areas of farmland were flooded. The Ghanaian Navy is helping to get emergency supplies to villages cut off by the floods, but access is slowly improving as flood waters recede, BBC West Africa correspondent Will Ross reports. There will however be a long-term need for food aid in many parts of northern Ghana, as the annual maize crop has been destroyed just before farmers were about to harvest, our correspondent says. Floodgates dispute The Ghanaian government and humanitarian agencies have just ended a visit to the worst-hit areas. But some villages remain cut off, only accessible by canoe - and all this just weeks after the same subsistence farmers were suffering from drought. Officials in neighbouring Burkina Faso have denied accusations that they aggravated the flooding in Ghana by opening floodgates on a dam that lies upstream from the countries' common border. Burkina Faso itself is also badly affected. Displaced people are sheltering in schools while waiting for the government to build makeshift shelters, the BBC's Pierre Kazoni reports. In Uganda, the first priority is getting food to people whose crops have been destroyed by the flooding, the BBC's Sarah Grainger in Kampala says. Already, the UN has diverted one helicopter from neighbouring Sudan's Darfur region and the WFP is requesting that two more be made available for the relief effort. People who have lost their homes to the floods also need tarpaulins and tents and aid agencies are stressing that medical supplies will be important as the threat of water-borne diseases like cholera increases, she says.