About one and a half million people in 18 African countries have been affected by severe flooding. Hundreds of people have died. One of the countries hard hit is Togo.
To learn more about the situation there, VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua spoke with Stephanie Savariaud, the regional spokesperson for the World Food Program in West Africa. She just returned to Dakar, Senegal, after touring the flooded areas of Togo, generally in the north of the country.
“Basically these are places that have been affected by heavy rains next to a river called the Ochi. So, all the population around this area has been actually badly affected. Local authorities there and also the people I’ve met that have been victims of these floods say that the last bad floods like these were in 1994,” she says.
She says the overall number of people affected by the floods is quite high in Togo. “But…we estimate that 60,000 people are in immediate need of urgent assistance, not only as food aid is concerned, but also as other needs arise, especially when the waters start receding and there is still stagnant water here and there. There is some real risk of diseases, water-borne disease, higher risk of malaria as well, and especially for children…. There are a lot of cases of diarrhea and this is a real risk for malnutrition for vulnerable people. WFP has started some emergency food distribution for 6,500 people. That was mainly for people who had lost their houses, for pregnant and lactating women, as well,” she says.
Savariaud says it’s been difficult to get emergency supplies to those in need because of flooded roads. She says the situation is similar in northern Ghana, where floods have affected 75,000 people.