Burkina Faso is among the many African countries that have been affected by heavy rains and floods over the past few months. Reports say more than 40 people have been killed and nearly 100-thousand displaced.
The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is one of the humanitarian agencies trying to help. Noora Kero has been touring the areas affected by floods. From a town about 350 kilometers west of the capital Ouagadougou, she spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about what she’s seen.
“I’ve been to a couple of places here in the field in Burkina Faso. First day we went to a village…which is about 150 kilometers south from Ouagadougou…and yesterday and today (Tuesday and Wednesday) we’ve been to Bama village… which is about 350 kilometers west of the capital…what I’ve seen here is basically a lot of farmers, who have lost all or part of their crops and also some crops that had been stored because of the torrential rains. And also what we’ve seen today and yesterday…in this Bama village…part of the village that was totally destroyed, like all the houses in one area had collapsed.
“And we talked to, for example, a family with seven kids. They told (us) it was the 28th of July when the heavy rains started. And they woke up about Five O’clock in the morning when the water just kept coming to their house. The head of the family told us that he could only save his family. He had to leave everything behind in his house,” she says.
Many people in the villages she visited need assistance. Kero says, “Now there are about 400 tents provided by the Moroccan government and some also by the Red Cross. Hundreds of people are still staying the night in the tents. We also realized that there are about 2,000 people in that village (Bama) that depend on the food provided by the government and some humanitarian organizations. There are local women who cook for the people of that village and every night…people gather around the tents and they will eat their food there.”
The rains stopped several weeks ago and much of the water has receded, revealing the flood damage. In fact, Burkina Faso is now entering the dry season. But the recent torrential rains created a suitable environment for disease.
Kero says, “Almost every family, and the families are quite big here with about seven to even 20 children…tell of at least one or two of their children have had malaria or are having malaria, as well as diarrhea and stomach problems.” However, she says there has been no evidence of cholera.