"Some people refused to leave their homes so they are living in
floodwaters," he said.
The United Nations has not yet received reports of waterborne diseases, but
Edoumou said a real threat exists of diarrhea or, worse, cholera.
The U.N. World Food Programme said Tuesday it has begun distributing food
to tens of thousands of homeless flood victims.
WFP has set a goal of feeding 177,500 people, mainly in Ouagadougou, the
capital of Burkina Faso, where 150,000 people have been affected and key
infrastructure -- including a central hospital, schools, bridges and roads --
has been damaged.
The flooding in Burkina Faso is the worst in 90 years, WFP said.
Many of those in Ouagadougou most needing help were already receiving aid
from WFP, but those rations were lost in the floodwaters, the U.N. reported.
"It is always the poor and vulnerable who suffer the most from floods
like these as their few remaining assets are swept away, leaving them hungry
and destitute," WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said.
Roads and buildings have been ruined from Mauritania to Niger, the U.N. reported.
In Agadez, Niger, a town about 458 miles (738 km) north of the capital, Niamey,
close to 988 acres (400 hectares) of vegetable crops and hundreds of livestock
were washed away.
Herve Ludovic de Lys, head of OCHA in West Africa, said natural disasters
have a lasting effect that unravels years of progress against poverty.
"The situation is very worrying," he said in an OCHA statement
The rainy season in West Africa begins in June and continues through late
September. In 2007, 300 people died and 800,000 were affected by the storms.
This year, fears abound that more heavy rain will fall in already
Despite the misery, Edoumou said the rains are a mixed blessing for
countries dependent on agriculture. The harvest this year will be more
bountiful, he said.
Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre - IDMC - http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004D31AA/(httpIDPNewsAlerts)/403789A01C2EDDE3C1257A70004F61A7?OpenDocument
Mass Displacementsby Floods Sweeping Across West Africa
Torrential rains have struck several West African
countries during the past few weeks resulting in mass displacements throughout
the region. Following a severe drought, the August floods have exacerbated an
ongoing regional food security crisis.
In Niger, the government reports that 52 people were killed and nearly 400,000
displaced after heavy
rains affected all seven regions of the country in what some have called
the worst flooding in a
century. In Niger’s capital, Niamey, floodwaters
washed away mud-brick homes, and destroyed vital food crops. In Senegal, Dakar
and other cities were hit mid-August by floods which have caused the death of
13 people and reportedly displaced thousands.
In neighbouring Mali, heavy rains in Ségou and Kayes regions affected
close to 12,000 people. For Malian IDPs and refugees caught
up in conflict , the rains have added to a complex emergency situation.
One third of Nigeria’s 36 states are expected to be affected by floods and
landslides this rainy season, according to Nigeria’s disaster management
agency. At least 10 people were killed and 20,000
displaced in eastern Nigeria following heavy rains and the release of a dam
in neighbouring Cameroon. Another 3,000 were displaced in Nigeria’s Taraba
state, where several villages wereswept away.
Attributed to ineffective drainage systems, the floods have killed
livestock and caused many homes to collapse in Nigeria’s worst-affected
states of Yobe, Kebbi, Bauchi and Jigawa. In Plateau state, the rain has washed away roads and bridges,
hampering rescue efforts.
The flooding has also increased the risk of water-borne diseases. In Guinea,
Sierra Leone, Ghana
and Niger, the flooding has exacerbated a cholera epidemic which has
already claimed the lives of several dozen people.