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Ethiopian Floods Kill Over 600 People, Thousands of Livestock


In parts of Ethiopia, flooding has claimed hundreds of lives and displaced tens of thousands of people. And there’s fear that bad weather could trigger more flooding in the Dire Dawa, South Omo and other regions.

Dr. Retta Menberu is the country director for the relief organization ActionAid. From Addis Ababa, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the flooded areas.

“We have two different types of flooding. One is an overflow from rivers and the other one is flash floods from rain from highlands in Ethiopia, central highlands. So in two of the affected places we’ve lost 620 lives, quite a number of thousand livestock and silos with grain have been washed away. We still have some people on the streets in the flooding,” he says.

ActionAid is providing food, shelter and medicine to the displaced.

Asked about any evidence of outbreaks of malaria or cholera, Dr. Menberu says, “Not so far associated with flooding. There are areas affected by acute watery diarrhea, not cholera, from my information. But as far as the flooding is concerned, we have not yet encountered an epidemic of any sort.”

The threat of more flooding remains high, with dams reported still overflowing. Some dams have been opened to release the pressure after warnings were first given to people downstream. Dr. Menberu says, “Some rivers, there is no sign of receding and heavy rains are forecast.”