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Flooding in Mauritania may delay the start of the school year as people
displaced by heavy rains are living in classrooms. Flooding in West Africa is
affecting nearly 600,000 people.
More than 11,000 Mauritanians
in the southern Rosso area are receiving assistance from the United
Nations World Food Program including cereals, vegetable oil, and sugar.
Minister Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf is promising to provide clean
drinking water to those displaced, and the United Nations Children's
Fund is working with the national water company to install pumps.
area near the Senegal River has been particularly hard hit by heavy
rains. Many of those displaced are living in shelters on higher ground
seven kilometers north of Rosso along the road to the capital.
may delay the start of the school year as many children in the area are
far from home and some classrooms are being used to house those
displaced by the flooding.
Farmer Souleiman Sall is a father of eight.
says he registered his family for assistance but only one of his wives
received aid while he says other women are going from registration
center to registration center signing up more than once.
Yacoub Ould Ousman came to Rosso from the flooded area of Satara on a horse cart because he lost his wheelchair.
says he registered for assistance but his registration was canceled.
Some of the people around him are being helped. Others are not. He says
he feels like a citizen without a country and does not know what to do
because there is no one to complain to.
Yahya Ould Cheikh Mohamed Vall is the governor of Rosso.
says the local government has registered more than 3,000 people who
need help because of the flooding. He says the process has been slowed
as local authorities have to verify the validity of claims because Vall
says many people are coming to Rosso from areas that are not affected
by flooding in hopes of getting aid for which they are not entitled.
The area around Rosso is also home to several thousand former refugees who have recently returned to Mauritania from Senegal.
says those refugees already live in better conditions than most
Mauritanians as they have been given tents, land, and cattle.
Boubacar Mboje coordinates the repatriation of former refugees around Rosso.
says most returning refugees live in hangars or small tents without
sides, so they are not protected from rains that are destroying much of
their personal property.
Aid agencies, including the Lutheran World Federation, are helping control mosquitos, disinfect toilets, and remove garbage.
There has also been flooding in the city of Kaedi and the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott.