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Floods in Burkina Faso spark UN flash appeal for humanitarian assistance

Floods in Burkina Faso spark UN flash appeal for humanitarian assistance

The United Nations humanitarian wing announced today that it is launching a flash appeal for $5.9 million to help 93,000 people in Burkina Faso, which was hit recently by its worst floods in decades.

At least 46 people have been killed and 76 others hurt since the floods began during the northern summer, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Nearly 9,000 homes, 50 bridges, 2,300 cereal warehouses and 18,000 hectares of crops have also been destroyed because of the inundations, which have swept across much of West Africa since July. Burkina Faso, along with its neighbours Mali and Niger, is one of the worst affected countries.

OCHA said that while immediate humanitarian needs had been met in the wake of the floods, many Burkinabe needed help in regaining their livelihoods and rebuilding basic services in their communities.

The funds raised in the appeal will be used to provide or improve food security, agriculture, health care, education, access to safe water and sanitation, basic shelter and supplies.

OCHA said UN agencies would work with the Government of Burkina Faso and with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to carry out any projects paid for by appeal funds.

The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), set up by the UN in late 2005 to speed up relief operations for emergencies, make funds available quickly after a disaster and finance under-funded emergencies, has already released $878,000 to prevent child malnutrition in Burkina Faso and support household food security after the floods.