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Ethiopia: Floods displace thousands in Afar and Amhara regions

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

August 31, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) – Days of heavy flooding in Ethiopia’s Afar region have displaced over 25,000 people, also caused extensive damage to agricultural crops, according to an official in the region.

The floods - caused by days of torrential rains this week - struck 12 districts of the region. Over two thousand hectares of agricultural land have also been affected, Afar regional bureau of disaster prevention and food security head, Hassen Mohamed said.

According to the official, a rescue operation to help those stranded is underway, aided by helicopters.

There are no any reports of any deaths. Ibrahim Abdela, a local health officer, told Sudan Tribune that there are fears of a possible outbreak of malaria and other water-borne diseases.

The regional government says it is providing relief aid to all affected families and those rescued are being evacuated to safe areas.

An early flood warning earlier issued from the Federal Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Sector is said to have lowered the scale of the disaster.

Flooding in the Amhara region of northern Ethiopia after three days of torrential rains has displaced more than 8,000 people and killed 19.

IRIN has reported that:

Some 53,237 households in Oromiya, South Wollo, North Wollo, South Gondar, North Gondar and North Shoa zones in Amhara have been affected, with 1,960 households temporarily displaced, stated a 23 August update by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). It warned of the risk of flooding in western, southwestern and central parts of Ethiopia in September.

The flooding has also either inundated or washed away crops planted on 6,132 hectares of land, according to the added the Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Sector.

(ST, IRIN)