Togo floods leave 21 dead

2010-10-29 12:49

Lome - Flooding in the small West African nation of Togo has killed 21 people and affected more than 82 000 in recent months, the government said on Friday, adding that victims were in need of aid.

"The number of people affected by the floods is 82 767, including 21 deaths and 85 injured," Communications Minister Djimon Ore said in a statement carried by state media.

Floods have hit a wide swathe of West and Central Africa this rainy season, killing more than 300 people and affecting nearly 1.5 million.

Benin, which neighbours Togo, has been seen as the hardest hit, with some 680 000 people affected, according to UN estimates.

The Togo minister's statement said the toll given on Friday was a "complete evaluation" put together by teams assembled by the government with the help of the United Nations.

A previous toll released more than a week ago said about 10 people had been killed and nearly 3 000 affected.

"The evaluation has shown a need for short-term food, non-food and agricultural supply assistance," it said, but gave no details on whether or how such aid would be provided.

More than 7 000 homes collapsed in the flooding in the country of some six million people, according to the statement.

In Benin on Thursday, an airlift of 1 500 tents arrived, with another 1 500 expected on Friday.

Highest death toll

The UN refugee agency had already been providing tents and mosquito nets in Benin from limited supplies in the region, officials have said.

Families have also been building temporary shelter with scrap wood and metal, and a statement issued by the UN has previously warned that the humanitarian situation in Benin was "becoming increasingly worrying".

Almost two-thirds of Benin was hit by flooding, the statement said, killing 43 people and leaving nearly 100 000 homeless. A cholera outbreak has added to the misery, with 800 cases counted across Benin, including seven deaths.

Aid organisations have acknowledged logistical problems in distributing assistance there, indicating the country of some 8.8 million people did not have a sufficient stock of emergency supplies on hand.

The highest death toll in the region this rainy season has been recorded in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation with some 150 million people. The country has seen 118 deaths.

Entire villages and huge swathes of farmland have also been destroyed, particularly in Nigeria's north, though areas of the economic capital Lagos have also been affected.