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West Africans Displaced by Flooding


Heavy rains in West Africa have affected more than 350,000 people. Our correspondent reports, flooding has killed at least 32 people in Ghana and Burkina Faso.

More than 150,000 people have left their homes in Burkina Faso, many in the capital Ouagadougou, where the United Nations says the amount of rain that fell in one day last week equals one-quarter of the nation's average annual rainfall.

These are the heaviest rains in 90 years in Burkina Faso, and at least seven people have been killed. The capital's main hospital is badly flooded, electricity is cut, and two dams and 12 bridges are damaged.

Prime Minister Tertius Zongo is appealing for more than $150 million to drain flood waters, repair road damage, pay for humanitarian assistance and develop a better disaster-response system.

At least 25 people have been killed by flooding in Ghana, where the local Red Cross society is helping vulnerable families with tarps, blankets, kitchen sets, sleeping mats, soap, and jerry cans.

Unusually heavy rains are also affecting people in Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mali, Liberia, and Gambia.

In Niger, 400 hectares of farmland are underwater and 3,500 homes have been partially destroyed. Twenty-thousand people are affected in Benin.

In Guinea, 6,000 people are affected by flooding in the capital Conakry and 10,000 people in the city of Kindia, where three rivers have overflowed their banks. Seven people died in mudslides and floods in Sierra Leone last month.

Thirty-thousand homes in Senegal are flooded, most on the outskirts of the capital, Dakar. That flooding and persistent power cuts sparked riots in the Pikine neighborhood where people barricaded roads with burned tires and smashed the windows of a police vehicle.

Damage to crop land increases food insecurity. Rising flood waters raise the incidence of malaria and diarrheal disease. Heavy rains are forecast through the end of September.

Flooding in West Africa two years ago killed 300 people and displaced more than 800,000.

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