"Along with the need to prevent and treat possible disease, immediate needs are for shelter and food, as many houses and crops have been washed away," says Paul Sitnam, World Vision's emergency response director for West Africa. "Our greatest concern is to reach children who are most vulnerable, but roads and bridges have been destroyed, making access difficult."
Meanwhile, Southern Africa continues to suffer an ongoing drought responsible for severe food shortages and crop failure; there, World Vision teams also are coordinating responses to meet urgent needs.
After weeks of torrential rain and spillage from Bagre Dam in neighboring Burkina Faso, Ghana's government declared disaster areas in the flooded Northern, Upper East, and Upper West regions.
Reports from previously inaccessible areas now put the death toll at 46, including one World Vision-sponsored child who drowned while trying to cross a swollen river. More than 332,000 people have been affected; many have sought shelter in local schools, public buildings, or with relatives. Floodwaters have destroyed housing, submerged farmlands, contaminated water, and damaged schools.
Nearly 60,000 people in nine World Vision-operational areas have been affected, including more than 22,760 registered children whose parents' or relatives' farms have been damaged.
World Vision field teams continue assessing needs and offering counseling to flood-affected children. Many are now facing psychological trauma associated with the destruction of their homes and livelihoods. An emergency response team in the Northern Region is facilitating relief distributions to the affected population, as well as disinfecting water sources in the area's flooded communities, the site for our West Africa Water Initiative.
In Sudan, more than 200,000 people and 44,000 households in five World Vision program areas have been affected; 54 people reportedly have died, but this number remains unconfirmed. Major needs include shelter materials and emergency food aid.
Access to flooded areas is limited, particularly the Upper Nile region, where a World Vision health clinic has collapsed. In response, World Vision:
In Kenya, at least 20,000 people have been affected by flooding in the Budalangi area. Some 832 families have taken refuge in six displacement camps. Kenya's government is responding to the crisis, conducting ongoing airdrops of food supplies.
Four World Vision program areas — Bunyala, Karemo, Katiti, and Winam — have suffered flood damage. In Bunyala, 1,300 of the 3,500 World Vision-sponsored children have been affected.
Our staff is working with community leaders to evacuate villagers by canoe and provide them with emergency supplies. So far, we have distributed 2,500 blankets, 1,400 tarps, 3,750 jerry cans of water (20 liters each), 1,400 plastic buckets (10 liters each), 20 mobile toilets, 50,000 water purification kits, and 125,000 purification tablets.
Torrential rains and overflowing rivers in Ethiopia have destroyed crops and food supplies; 17 people and more than 4,000 livestock are confirmed dead. Though various reports are conflicting, a United Nations humanitarian spokesperson says fresh rains in western Ethiopia have caused new flooding around the town of Gambella, raising the number of flood-affected Ethiopians to 239,000.
Eleven World Vision program areas in the country have been affected, and an estimated 66,000 people need assistance. World Vision is distributing temporary shelter materials and other relief supplies, including seeds for farmers whose crops have been destroyed.
Our staff members across Africa are continuing to monitor the situation as floodwaters recede.
>> Pray for the millions affected by the recent flooding in Africa, especially vulnerable children. Pray also for aid organizations like World Vision, that their efforts would help alleviate the suffering and bring relief to children and families who need it the most.
>> Donate now to World Vision's Disaster Response Fund. Your contribution will help us to quickly deliver aid in the midst of disasters like the current flooding in Africa.
>> Sponsor a child in Ghana, Uganda, or Kenya. World Vision sponsorship provides additional assistance to children during times of crisis; the program also helps children and their communities rebuild their lives after disasters.
>> Provide a family with a bed net through World Vision's Gift Catalog. Your gift will help keep away mosquitoes that carry malaria, a disease that kills a child every 30 seconds in Africa.
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