Ethiopia + 3 more

CARE steps up response to floods in Africa

CARE staff throughout Africa are on high alert as a result of the torrential rains and flooding that is affecting large parts of the continent. United Nation agencies estimate that close to one million people might be affected in across a broad band of land stretching from East to West Africa. Many more may be at risk if the rains continue past the end of the rainy season and hit areas that have so far escaped the floods.

CARE staff in Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana and Mali are responding or assessing community needs in Ethiopia, Uganda and Ghana. CARE is coordinating its responses with government agencies and other NGO's in all the affected areas. The immediate responses focus on food aid, access to safe water supplies, shelter for displaced people and provision of non-food items, such as blankets, plastic sheeting and pots and pans.

In Ethiopia CARE is struggling to provide relief to areas inundated by the collapse of a dam. About 4,500 people are isolated and surrounded by water. The organization is also planning to support the people of the Amhara Region, who have been affected by the flooding of Lake Tana. In Uganda, floods are forcing people who had recently abandoned refugee camps in the wake of a peace agreement between the government and rebels, to return to the camps.

"The people most affected by the flooding in the northeastern part of Uganda are the same people who have endured twenty years of civil war and have lived in internally displaced camps for more than a decade," says Kevin Fitzcharles, Country Director for CARE Uganda. "The recent peace agreement between the Government and the Lords Resistance Army had finally given the green light for people to return to their native villages. The sanitary conditions are extremely poor and the mortality rate is high. These poor people are back to where they started."

ICARE is collecting information on how best to respond to the emergency in northern Uganda. CARE staff in Pader and Lira is safe but Pader is now cut off (roads blocked).

All eight districts in Upper East Region of Ghana have been severely affected by the torrential rains and consequential flooding. Five out of 18 districts in Northern Region are badly affected, meaning that more than 75% of the crop is damaged. Five of these 13 districts are CARE operational areas. The Country Office is still determining how best to use the emergency funding. We are likely to intervene with food aid in 2 out of 3 districts where we are operational.

In Mali three communities were affected by floods July of this year. This was a result of heavy rain that flooded the Yame River. About 404 houses were partially or totally destroyed, more than 1 500 people affected, and 5 bridges collapsed. CARE has begun an emergency response and is distributing 12 tons of cereals. CARE is also providing basic household equipment, such as tents and lamps. CARE is also conducting a survey to determine how the flooding will impact harvest and food security in the country.

Media Contacts:

Bea Spadacini in Kenya at +254 (0) 725 22 10 36 / spadacini@ci.or.ke

Kenneth Walker in South Africa at + 27 11 234 1221 / KWalker@caresa.co.za

William Dowell in Geneva at +41 79 590 3047/ dowell@careinternational.org