UN steps up relief efforts for 600,000 flood victims in West Africa

23 September 2009

United Nations agencies are stepping up emergency relief efforts in West Africa where severe flooding has affected 600,000 people, damaging infrastructure, schools and hospitals, inundating large swathes of farmland and destroying crops.

Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Senegal are the worst affected countries.

“In Burkina Faso UN agencies and their NGO (non-governmental organization) partners have launched a flash appeal for $18.4 million to respond to the flood emergency. Only 1.6 per cent of the required amount has been contributed,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today.

In Senegal, where authorities estimate that nearly 264,000 have been affected, the UN has delivered more than 20 tons of relief supplies from its humanitarian warehouse in Brindisi, Italy, including water purification equipment, pumps, generators, tents and water tanks.

In Guinea, at least 30,000 people have been affected, according to a joint humanitarian rapid assessment, and local authorities in collaboration with UN agencies and NGOs are compiling a report on how best to meet the needs of those affected.

In Niger, some 80,000 people are affected. Many of these initially sought shelter in schools and efforts are underway to relocate them to other sites before schools reopen in the next few days.

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) has handed over 3,400 mosquito nets to the authorities as well as $15,000 worth of drugs. A mission of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has conducted a rapid assessment of crop damage; its results are pending.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has mobilized $300,000 for the Niger flood emergency. Some $50,000 of the funds will be used to develop an early warning system.

In Ghana, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has provided 200 mosquito nets, medicines and non-food items, while the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has provided food for 10,000 people for 30 days.

 

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