WFP teams in many countries across Africa are delivering food to people hit by floods across the continent that are the worst in decades in some places. But WFP urgently needs new contributions to cope with the crisis.
· At least 1.5 million people are so far affected by the floods from Mauritania in an arc stretching across sub-Saharan Africa.
· Funds, especially cash, are urgently needed for several WFP operations, including in Uganda, where a US$41-million UN flash appeal was launched last Friday. Of this, WFP needs US$26.3 million to feed 300,000 flood victims, as well as provide for helicopters, boats and road and bridge repairs. WFP warns that a major crisis could develop in Uganda.
EAST AND CENTRAL AFRICA
Widespread flooding in Uganda is worsening road access to key regions in the north, so in some places air deliveries are WFP’s only option. WFP last week urgently appealed for funds to feed 300,000 flood victims until March. In total, WFP estimates that 1.7 million people are in need of assistance in Uganda, including flood victims, refugees and others displaced by conflict or civil strife. But it has still not received new donations. The UN last Friday launched a combined flash appeal for US$41 million for flood victims; of this WFP needs US$26.3 million for food aid and logistics.
· As people’s food supplies run out, and as the threat of malaria and waterborne diseases rise in flooded areas, it is vital that WFP has funds to reach people with food aid and to keep helicopters in the air to ferry other aid to people in villagers cut off by floodwater.
· WFP teams are on the ground in flooded areas and have reached almost 74,000 people with some 1,051 tons of food, using trucks where possible and a helicopter.
· WFP has one helicopter in the air, and is bringing in two cargo helicopters, as well as more heavy duty trucks that can negotiate muddy roads, from fleets in Burundi and Sudan. Two engineers will also work with the Ugandan authorities on repairs to roads and key bridges.
· Over the past few days, rains have been reported across much of Uganda, including areas north of Soroti in Lira District and in the Northeast in Karamoja region. Floods have cut WFP’s road access to 27 camps for displaced people surrounding the towns of Pader and Kitgum. There is no road access to Katakwi – one of the two worst-affected districts.
· In addition to food, WFP needs funds to pay for helicopters, boats and emergency repairs to bridges so assistance can reach people in villages cut off by the rising waters. With rains forecast to continue through October, access could become even worse in the flooded Teso, Lango and Bugisu regions.
· In Sudan, WFP is preparing to start emergency air drops to feed 43,800 people in three flood-affected states in southern Sudan – in addition to 89,000 flood-affected people already receiving food assistance in other parts of the South and in East Sudan.
· The one-month air drop operation will start in October to drop 1,440 tons of food assistance in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Lakes states where roads are impassable. Another 264 tons will be delivered by river in Jonglei.
· Some 500,000 people have been directly affected by floods, and at least 200,000 are homeless. Some 113 people have died. Since the beginning of July, torrential rains have caused flash floods in eastern and southern Sudan, which many local people say are the worst in living memory.
· In Ethiopia, seasonal floods have occurred in Amhara, Afar and Tigray in northern Ethiopia, in Gambella in the West, in SNNP in the South, and in the Somali region, affecting 226,000 people. A total of 71,000 people have been displaced.
· The Government has sent 1,400 tons of WFP food, including grain, vegetable oil, biscuits and enriched blended food to assist more than 60,000 people – distributions are already underway. The Government and aid agencies have also dispatched additional food and non-food items such as tents and cooking utensils.
· In Rwanda, torrential rainfall combined with the effects of deforestation in the Northwest has left at least 17 people dead and damaged homes, leaving 2,370 people homeless. The government has distributed food to flood victims, and it says it can meet the needs for the first two months. WFP is ready to assist if requested, and is identifying potential food-for-work projects.
· West Africa is experiencing one of its worst floods in ten years. An unusual rainy season has given way to heavy rains and flash flooding across the region. According to OCHA, more than 600,000 people have been affected by heavy rains and floods in 12 countries. Heavy rains and floods have destroyed houses and infrastructure in localised areas in the region and urgent assistance is required for the most vulnerable.
· However, the overall agricultural production forecast for 2007-2008 is positive, according to a meeting this month of the Permanent Inter-State committee for Drought Control in the Sahe (CILSS). Despite the floods, CILSS says cereal production forecasts are good in Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Faso, Benin and Guinea. Ghana might have however suffered important losses, but official figures are not yet available.
· In Ghana, 25 metric tons of high energy biscuits are being distributed as an immediate response to flood victims. WFP is launching a three-month emergency operation to provide food to 75,000 people in the worst-affected districts in the Northern and the Upper West region of Ghana, requiring about US$3 million. Many communities remain inaccessible.
· WFP has distributed 40 tons of food to 6,500 people in the Tandjoare district, near Dapaong, in Northern Togo. Distributions have targeted people whose houses and crops were destroyed, as well as pregnant and nursing women. In total, WFP needs US$1.4 million for 2,300 tons of food to give a two-month ration to 60,000 people affected by the floods in Togo.
· In Burkina Faso, the government has distributed 1,300 tons of cereals, from its own national intervention stock to provide assistance to 16,500 severely affected people. WFP and FAO are preparing joint recovery activities for affected farmers.
· WFP worked with the government, other UN agencies, and NGO partners to give emergency assistance to some 18,000 homeless people in Tintane, Mauritania, which was submerged by floodwaters in August. WFP set up mobile warehouses to store food and non-food items received from donors, and opened six supplementary feeding centres for 300 malnourished children under five and 120 pregnant and nursing women. Flooding has also affected other parts of the country’s food-insecure southern agro-pastoral strip.
· In Niger WFP distributed food to 4,550 people affected by floods in August. In Mali, WFP distributed food for 15,000 people in August and will provide further assistance to 20,000 affected people over three months.