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UN Launches Emergency Appeal to Help Flood Victims in Burkina Faso

  • Kate Thomas

Three weeks after Burkina Faso was hit by devastating floods, people in the worst-affected areas are struggling to get back to normal.

Eight people died when heavy rains swept through Burkina Faso in early September. It was the heaviest rainfall in 90 years.

More than 50,000 people are living in temporary accommodations in churches and office buildings and another 40,000 are staying with host families.

Others have taken shelter in primary and secondary schools, but the new school year begins October 1st and many of the displaced have been asked to leave, as teachers return to their schools in preparation for the resumption of classes.

Landlocked Burkina Faso is more accustomed to dry, dusty weather and droughts than prolonged bouts of rain, so when 30 centimeters of rain lashed the capital, Ouagadougou, in a period of 12 hours last month, most homes were not equipped to deal with the consequences.

Houses and bridges were washed away, and hundreds of thousands were left homeless.

The Burkinabe government has granted permission for people to rebuild their homes in non-affected areas, but funds are short.

The United Nations has launched an emergency appeal for $18.4-million to help flood victims in Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in Africa.

The U.N. Coordinator in Burkina Faso, Babacar Cissé, said the worst of the flooding is over, but there is still an urgent need for food security and healthcare in Ouagadougou and other affected regions.

There are fears there will be a spike in waterborne diseases, as the rainy season draws to a close and the weather becomes warmer.

The United Nations says 160 people have died as a result of recent floods in West Africa. The aid agency Oxfam has launched an appeal to improve the situation in Mali, where late rains and subsequent floods have killed at least two people.