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West Africa Floods Affect At Least 125,000 people

Humanitarian officials say severe flooding in West Africa has left thousands of people homeless, damaged roads and destroyed crops.

The hardest hit areas are in include Mauritania, Togo, Mali, Burkina-Faso, Nigeria, Niger, Liberia, The Gambia, Ivory Coast and Senegal. More than 80 people are reported dead.

Hans Ebbing is the regional health coordinator for West Africa for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. From Dakar, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the effects of the floods.

“It depends on where you look…it’s flooding which is occurring in certain precise areas. So it’s not affecting whole countries. If you check with the weather services they actually say that rain this year in general is not more than usual. But…in certain very specific localities, we have immense amounts of rain coming down and causing these localized floods, which basically sweep away some roads and bridges and really cause immense problems in certain localities,” he says.

Ebbing estimates that in 10 West African and two Central African countries floods have affected about 125,000 people.

As for aid, he says, “The Red Cross movements or the national Red Cross societies with some assistance from the International federation, we are certainly providing first aid…and then following detailed assessments we are providing the population with tents, with clothes, with sleeping equipment, mosquito nets, etc. And then together with the international community and the governments and the local authorities we are trying to relocate people into temporary housing and provide food and medication.”