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Sierra Leone News: Record rains and floods affect West Africa

Since June, torrential rains, mudslides and flooding have affected 600,000 people in 16 West African nations, the United Nations reported. 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 issued
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.
The worst hit have been Burkina Faso, Senegal, Ghana and Niger, said Yvon Edoumou, a spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, in the Senegalese capital, Dakar. So far, 159 people have died, he said. Sierra Leone has also been hard hit. More than 500 people died in a disasterous mudslide on the 14 August 2017. Thousands were displaced and negatively affected. Days and days of rains have flooded many areas in and around Freetown. The heavy rains have also affected the countryside.
“In Gambia 15,617 people were affected by floods. In Ghana, 139,790 have been affected, and at least 24 killed. In Guinea, 40,000 people have been affected in the capital Conakry and the towns of Kindia and Siguiri. In Ivory Coast, torrential rains, causing mudslides and floods killed at least 19 people in the capital Abidjan and affected around 2,000 people. In Liberia, 584 people were affected by floods, leaving two dead. In Senegal 30,000 households have been affected by floods in the capital Dakar and other parts of the country, with an estimated 264,000 affected and six deaths,” says Africa Easterly jet website.
The UN 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 it has begun distributing food to tens of thousands of homeless flood victims across West Africa.
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.
“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.
This year, fears abound that more heavy rain will fall in already waterlogged areas.
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.
Hours of heavy rain between 08 and 09 July caused severe flooding in Suleja in Niger state, Nigeria, which lies about 30 km north west of capital city Abuja.
Local media are reporting several fatalities, including eight members of the same household. Local officials have not yet confirmed the number of casualties. Reports suggest dozens of houses have been damaged or destroyed.
Flooding also affected parts of nearby Tafa, also in Niger state between 08 and 09 July. Elsewhere in Nigeria, flooding was reported in Ibadan, Oyo state after a heavy downpour lasting 5 hours between 09 and 10 July. There are no reports of fatalities or displacements. Heavy rain from 06 July caused flooding in parts of Lagos state and metropolitan area, in particular Victoria Island, Lekki and Oniru. The flooding damaged several buildings and caused chaos on the roads.
By Sylvia Villa
Thursday September 07, 2017.

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