UN food agency helps 10,000 flood survivors in Ethiopia

11 August 2006
People root through debris where homes once stood

Following devastating floods in eastern Ethiopia, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is rushing to assess the needs of an estimated 10,000 people left homeless by the disaster, which killed over 200 others.

Following devastating floods in eastern Ethiopia, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is rushing to assess the needs of an estimated 10,000 people left homeless by the disaster, which killed over 200 others.

Once the assessment and registration is complete, survivors will immediately receive a food ration consisting of cereals, vegetable oil, vitamin and mineral enriched blended food and salt to last for one month, the Rome-based agency said in a news release.

“Everyone appreciates the need to move quickly and to help people, many of whom have nothing but the clothes on their backs, in whatever way we can,” said Abnezer Ngowi, WFP Acting Country Director in Ethiopia.

Thousands of people are camped out in temporary shelters as rescue workers use bulldozers and digging equipment to clear mud and sand dumped in Dire Dawa town and the surrounding areas after the Dechatu River burst its banks on Saturday night, the agency said.

Some 220 people are known to have died, although officials say the death toll is likely to rise because more than 300 people are still reported missing. The floods swept away houses, vehicles and animals and destroyed markets and shops.

“We have deployed logistics officers, field monitors and staff from our offices in Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa to assist our UN colleagues and the local administration in the relief effort,” said Mr. Ngowi.

Heavy rainfall in Ethiopia often impacts neighbouring Somalia, and the agency’s officials there say they are on standby to help. “We are monitoring the situation very closely and are ready with relief assistance as needed,” said Leo van der Velden, WFP’s Acting Country Director for Somalia.

 

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