377 dead in west and central African floods: UN

The United Nations said on Tuesday that 377 people had died in flooding in central and west Africa, with nearly 1.5 million people affected since the start of the rainy season in June.

Last Updated: Oct 20, 2010, 10:31 AM IST

Dakar: The United Nations said on Tuesday that 377 people had died in flooding in central and west Africa, with nearly 1.5 million people affected since the start of the rainy season in June.

"2010 has seen the largest number of people affected and dying from flooding", the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a news bulletin received by a news agency in Dakar.

The highest toll was in Nigeria with 118, followed by Ghana (52), Sudan (50), Benin (43), Chad (24), Mauritania (21), Burkina Faso (16), Cameroon (13), Gambia (12), with other countries reporting less than 10 dead.

Most people were affected in Benin (360,000), followed by Nigeria (300,000), Niger (226,611), Chad (150,000), Burkina Faso (105,481), Sudan (74,970) and Mauritania (50,815).

Other countries had less than 50,000 people suffering from the floods.

"These floods worsened the situation in Niger and Chad, which are already facing a severe food crisis", OCHA said.

"In Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad rain is leading to cholera epidemics," it added.

The rain "also disrupted the start of the school year in several countries and led to losses in the social and economic infrastructure, houses and farming".

Last year floods killed 195 people in west Africa and affected 823,291 others.

Quoting figures from state-run National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the UN body said that in Nigeria`s northwest states of Sokoto and Kebbi, heavy downpours destroyed many road and water infrastructure.

NEMA, working in conjunction with aid and relief agencies of the UN, the MSF and the Nigerian Red Cross, brought urgent relief assistance to the affected areas, the OCHA statement said.

The government plans to spend 150 million dollars for urgent rehabilitation in Kebbi and Sokoto States while the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has allocated 312,288 dollars to assist 3,000 families badly affected by the floods.

Cholera has killed 1,182 people in Nigeria, Africa`s most populous nation of 150 million, OCHA said.

Bureau Report