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UN Says Burkina Faso Flood Victims Need Emergency Aid

  • Lisa Schlein

The United Nations is appealing for more than $14 million to sustain life-saving activities for tens of thousands of flood victims in Burkina Faso over the next six months. Aid agencies say heavy flooding during July and August has had a severe impact on the lives and livelihoods of more than 100,000 people.

The floods have caused serious damage in five regions of Burkina Faso. And, agencies fear there may still be worse to come. They note the country is weeks away from the end of the rainy season and much work is needed to repair the harm already done.

Spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Elizabeth Byrs, tells VOA the floods have damaged or destroyed homes, bridges, roads, schools, health centers and other infrastructure.

"So, now thousands of people are in need of assistance and also aid distribution has been, in some parts, slowed and delayed by difficulties in access because of this destruction of infrastructure," said Byrs. "And, within this $14 million we are asking for some part of this money will be used for rehabilitation, for reconstruction of those bridges and roads."

The United Nations reports some villages are isolated and cut off from aid. Thousands of people who have lost their homes are living with host families. But, according to United Nations estimates about 10,000 people are sheltering in more than 80 public facilities, including schools and churches.

Byrs says it is critical to find alternative housing for these homeless people.

"They need to be relocated," Byrs added. "They need to find proper shelter and homes because the schools are now resuming and the schools must be freed to allow the children to go back to school as soon as possible."

Assessments of all affected areas are still ongoing. But, the United Nations has identified a number of immediate needs. These include support for food security, access to safe drinking water, medicines and basic care to prevent and to treat waterborne diseases.