Ethiopia + 4 more

Red Cross warns of potential food security crisis resulting from floods in Africa

(Ottawa - September 27, 2007) Extensive flooding has affected more than one million people and left 650,000 homeless in over 18 countries in East, Central and West Africa. Flooding and landslides have washed away houses, food reserves and crops, and has contaminated clean water supplies.

Canadian Red Cross is responding to the crisis by sending over $100,000 to assist emergency relief efforts in the hardest hit regions, including Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Togo and Ghana. The Canadian International Development Agency has donated over $139,000 to Red Cross to support relief efforts in West Africa.

"The flooding has left hundreds of thousands of people across Africa urgently needing food and clean water," says Charlie Musoka, emergencies response manager with the Canadian Red Cross. "With more rain predicted in the coming weeks, a rapid response to this disaster is vital to help reduce the risk of water-borne diseases and a possible food crisis."

Massive damage to crops and the widespread destruction of grain supplies by the floods have left many communities facing an uncertain future. With harvest either already happening, or just a few months away, a second emergency is looming as food shortages could become widespread.

With support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, local Red Cross Societies have mobilized hundreds of volunteers and staff to distribute relief items including tarpaulins, insecticide-treated bed nets, blankets, jerry cans, soap and kitchen utensils, as well as tools to build and repair water and sanitation facilities.

Canadians are urged to help ease the suffering from this humanitarian crisis. Those wishing to support relief and recovery activities are encouraged to contribute by donating www.redcross.ca, calling 1-800-418-1111 or contacting their local Canadian Red Cross office. Cheques should be made payable to the Canadian Red Cross, earmarked "Africa Floods" and mailed to the Canadian Red Cross' National Office, 170 Metcalfe Street, Suite 300, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 2P2.

The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which includes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and 185 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Our mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Canadian Red Cross
Public Affairs Line
(613) 740-1994