Flooding displaces thousands

2009-09-06 20:39

Accra - The number of people displaced by flooding caused by heavy rains in West and Central Africa rose to around 350 000 over the weekend, according to the UN.

In Ghana and Burkina Faso at least 32 people are reported to have died in the floods, with the number of dead expected to rise.

Many of the flooded areas, where streets and bridges were washed away by flood waters, remained inaccessible.

A spokesperson for the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the heavy rainfall was similar to levels in 2007 that claimed more than 300 lives and left 300 000 homeless.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has issued an urgent appeal for donations to assist flood victims in 16 African countries.

In Burkina Faso alone, about 10 000 of the 150 000 people who lost their homes in the flooding have sought refuge in the capital Ouagadougou, where the heaviest rains in 90 years were recorded.

Even the desert city of Agadez experienced its worst rainfall in years. Many traditional clay houses in cities countrywide were either completely destroyed or damaged in flooding.