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FAO to Help Flood Damaged African Countries

Hundreds of thousands of people remain affected by floods in East and West Africa. The floods are blamed on unusually heavy rains.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says flood emergencies in Africa have risen sharply in recent years. Up from only five in 2004 to more than 40 so far this year.

Among the agencies planning to deal with the aftermath of the flooding is the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the FAO. Fatouma Seid is with the FAO’s emergency rehabilitation division. From Rome, she spoke with VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about what the UN agency is doing to deal with the damage done to the agricultural sector.

“We are in fact working with the governments and trying to help them, first of all, assess the impact of these floods. We already have teams on the ground through the FAO offices in those affected countries. And we are sending those teams out into the field to assess the damages on agriculture,” she says.

Seid adds, “At this time of the year it’s particularly bad because for agriculture this is the harvest time and I’m speaking mostly for West Africa. So, the crops were ready to be harvested. So, the damage will be that production will be reduced.” However, the extent of that reduction isn’t known yet.

One of the immediate actions being taken is to replace seeds and tools because the dry cropping season begins soon.

“What we are trying to do is also to, in fact, save the standing crops. And we are trying to provide or helping the government to obtain fertilizer and things like that,” she says.

The FAO is already providing some limited assistant in Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Togo and Ghana.