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Ethiopia Flood Recovery


Ethiopians are starting to rebuild two areas of their country that were devastated by last month’s flash floods. The country’s Disaster and Preparedness Agency says the high waters affected almost 200-thousand people and resulted in more than six hundred deaths nationwide. The worst-hit areas are the southern Omo River Valley, where 364 people perished, and the eastern town of Dire Dawa, where 256 lost their lives. Eric Kilongi Mgendi is Communications Coordinator for the international development agency Action Aid. He tells English to Africa reporter Howard Lesser that with the help of such non-governmental groups as the International Red Cross, Oxfam, and Action Aid, livestock is being carefully replenished and emergency relief supplies, such as rice, flour, and plastic sheeting are being brought in. Mgendi says that for the region’s pastoralists, the floods have dealt a crushing blow to their basic livelihoods. “When there was famine, some of the livestock had actually died. So when it rained, it was actually a mixed blessing because the livestock that were weak died, and the people lost a lot of livestock -- so much so that even when the pasture grew, most of their livelihoods had actually perished. It meant that people who are pastoralists did not have their livelihood unless restocking was done to give people livestock. Again, there was that hesitation because people were not sure when the rains only came afterwards, even within a few days of the coming of the rains, it has already destroyed the livelihood that was already left.” Mgendi says that citizens, government, and non-governmental groups are all pitching in at the start of Ethiopia’s new calendar year (which began on Monday) to help provide shelter for some 48-thousand made homeless by the torrent.

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