U.S. Water News Online
Floods have ravaged African nations including Ghana and Togo in
the west, along with Sudan, Uganda, Somalia and Kenya in the central
and eastern regions. At least 200 people have died and hundreds of
thousands are displaced.
Humanitarian workers were trying to reach villages that have been
cut off by water, even as rain continued to fall in many places. In
Uganda, at least 21 people have died since August.
Flood-hit Africans were surviving on just one meal a day, sleeping
in abandoned schools and moving to ever-higher ground. The Ugandan
government declared a state of emergency Thursday in the worst
flood-affected areas, allowing funds to be diverted directly to the
"We expected the rains, which have been falling since early
August, to ease off but they are getting worse, and we are seeing
more and more people affected," said Uganda's Relief and Disaster
Preparedness Minister Tarsis Kabwegyere.
In Ghana, which also is under a state of emergency, the United
Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said a
field assessment has shown 260,000 people were affected and 20
"Food is identified as one of the major needs, with vulnerable
populations in the affected areas resorting to one meal per day as a
coping mechanism," the office said in a statement Thursday. "Market
prices have doubled for most commodities. Lack of safe drinking water
remains another major concern."
In Omugenya and many other African villages, mud huts have simply
dissolved in the driving rain. Fields growing rice, sweet potatoes
and ground nuts are submerged. The tips of bushes and small trees
poke through the murky water.
The U.N. chartered a helicopter to airlift supplies to areas in
Uganda where floods rendered roads impassible.
"We are targeting those in direst need. Many people have had to
abandon their homes and are now sheltering in primary schools," said
Geoffrey Edong, the World Food Program's regional chief. "Until we
provide them with support and alternative accommodation they cannot
move and the schools cannot operate."
Deborah Anango, a mother of nine who lives in a tiny settlement
called Agule, said it will take months to rebuild homes, even the
simplest thatched huts.
"The grass for thatching will be very hard to come by now because
the floods have made all the vegetation rot," she said. "Our future
is looking terrible."
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