270,000 At Risk As Floods Threaten Ethiopia

August 31st, 2010 | by addis portal |

More than a quarter of a million Ethiopians are at risk from heavy floods which are  expected next month, according to a forecast issued by the United Nations on Monday.

“Some 270,000 people could be affected by flooding in the Amhara region,” The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement.

The office also said 19 people were killed in mudslides after flooding last week. Another 12,000 people had been displaced for the last floods.

“New flooding has been reported in recent days, including in the eastern Amhara lowlands and in northern Somali Region,” the OCHA said. Flooding often affects Ethiopia’s lowlands during the rainy season between June and September.

A contingency plan issued by regional authorities says $6.8 million would be needed to respond to such an emergency.

But Ethiopia’s disaster management office reported a lower estimate saying 153,000 people were likely to be affected by next month’s floods. The office said 25 per cent of them could lose their homes.

Almost 5,000 people who fled to higher ground are now inaccessible to local authorities, the OCHA said.

The floods which damage the country’s agriculture-based economy wash away thousands of cattle, ruining crops and submerging roads. More than 1,000 people were killed and more than 300,000 made homeless in 2006 floods.

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