Sunday, September 06, 2009

"Thousands Flee Flooding In Burkina Faso"

Posted at PlanetArk:

DAKAR - The heaviest rainfall in 90 years in the African state of Burkina Faso has triggered heavy flooding and forced thousands of people to flee their homes, the government said Wednesday.

"We have been able to find shelter for about 110,000 people but there are others who have taken refuge with their neighbors," Prime Minister Tertius Zongo told reporters after an emergency cabinet meeting.

"There are at least 150,000 people to cater for."

Aid groups in the Burkina Faso capital of Ouagadougou, which has a population of about 1 million, said the flood water had smashed bridges and roads and could hamper their work.

"Bridges and dams have been destroyed, the main hospital in Ouagadougou which is close to a dam was inundated and some patients including about 60 children were evacuated," Rosine Jourdain of the Belgian Red Cross in Burkina Faso told Reuters by telephone.

"An electrical plant was also destroyed so I think we are going to have some power supply problems."

In neighboring Niger, hundreds of families have also been made homeless by flooding in the uranium-rich region of Agadez when their homes collapsed after the river Kora burst and flooded the town of Agadez which has a population of about 80,000.

"Many persons are dead and others are unaccounted for. This is one of the worst disasters in the history of Agadez," Ali Hamidou, a craftsman and resident of the town, told Reuters by phone.

Seasonal rains from June regularly cause fatal floods and mudslides in West Africa. In 2007, over 800,000 people were affected, some 300 died while homes, crops and infrastructure were washed away.

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