The Heat Is Online

Flooding Drives 10,000 People from Thier Homes in Chad

Chad Floods Force 10,000 From Homes, Kill 3 - UN, Aug. 25. 2008


N'DJAMENA - Floods in southern Chad have forced 10,000 people from their homes and killed three, the United Nations said on Saturday, adding to the toll from seasonal rains spreading destruction and disease across Africa's Sahel region.


The United Nations said last week floods had uprooted an estimated 200,000 people across West Africa.


Kingsley Amaning, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Chad, said in a statement on Saturday that 10,000 had lost their homes due to flooding in and around the southern town of Sahr.


"Torrential rains have been hitting Sahr since late July, and have continued up to the present time," Amaning's office said in a statement.


"Three people, caught under their collapsing homes, have been reported dead, and eight seriously injured," it said.


Seasonal rains fall generally between June and October across Africa's Sahel band, which runs across the continent south of the Sahara. Heavy or prolonged downpours can cause flash flooding and cause mud-built houses to collapse.


School teacher Rock Ndotam was one of the lucky ones: part of his house collapsed, but some of it was still standing at the weekend despite waterlogged streets and alleyways in the Mangara district where he lives on the outskirts of Sahr.


"We are crammed into two rooms along with all the children," the father of seven told Reuters by telephone from Sahr.


"We haven't received any help yet -- we have been registered, but we are still waiting. ... These are really difficult conditions," he said.

UN aid workers are concentrating on getting sheeting for shelter, chlorine to purify drinking water, health supplies and nutritional supplements such as high energy biscuits for children and nursing mothers.


They are particularly worried about hygiene and spreading disease as flooding had destroyed some 122 latrines and showers.


"The spread of malaria, diarrhoeal and respiratory diseases, could affect up to 30,000 people," World Health Organisation doctor Dah ould-Cheik said in the UN statement.


Water-borne diseases are a threat during seasonal rains, which have been particularly heavy in some parts of West Africa this year.


Flooding in July forced an estimated 150,000 people from their homes in Benin alone. In neighbouring Togo, France sent troops to help rebuild bridges swept away by rains that killed at least nine people.


Further round Africa's Atlantic coast, tiny Guinea-Bissau is struggling to control an outbreak of cholera that has killed at least 59 people since May.