Thousands threatened by flooding

Report
from Voice of America
Published on 21 Aug 1996
DATE=8/21/96
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-201974
TITLE=ETHIOPIA FLOODS (L)
BYLINE=SCOTT STEARNS
DATELINE=NAIROBI
CONTENT=
VOICED AT:

INTRO: ETHIOPIA SAYS MORE THAN 150-THOUSAND PEOPLE ARE
THREATENED BY FLOODING IN THE CENTRAL OROMO DISTRICT. V-O-A EAST
AFRICA CORRESPONDENT SCOTT STEARNS REPORTS HEAVY RAINS HAVE
ALREADY DESTROYED CROPS.

TEXT: ETHIOPIA'S GOVERNMENT HAS ESTABLISHED TEMPORARY SHELTERS
TO CARE FOR PEOPLE DRIVEN FROM THEIR HOMES BY THE RISING AWASH
RIVER. FOOD, BLANKETS, AND MEDICINE ARE READY AT FOUR FACILITIES
BUILT DURING THE WEEKEND.

THE PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE SAYS THE EASTERN DISTRICTS OF WENJI,
MATAHARA, AND AMIBARA HAVE BEEN MOST AFFECTED BY HEAVY RAINS THAT
HAVE CHANGED THE RIVER'S COURSE.

FLOODWATERS HAVE ALREADY DESTROYED CROPS, ROADS, AND DRINKING
WATER WELLS. THOUSANDS OF HECTARES OF SUGAR FARMS ALONG THE
AWASH RIVER ARE NOW AT RISK.

THE KOKA HYDROELECTRIC DAM EAST OF THE CAPITAL IS ALSO UNDER
THREAT. OFFICIALS SAYS FLOOD WATERS ARE JUST 60 CENTIMETERS FROM
THE TOP OF THE 110-METER DAM.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS URGED PEOPLE DOWNSTREAM OF THE DAM TO LEAVE
THE AREA BEFORE FLOODGATES ARE OPENED. STATE RADIO SAYS THE
HYDROELECTIC FACILITY HAS BEEN RELEASING ABOUT THE SAME AMOUNT OF
WATER AS HAS FLOWED TO THE DAM OVER THE PAST THREE DAYS. IT
QUOTED THE HEAD OF THE FACILITY AS SAYING THE AMOUNT OF WATER
RELEASED WILL NOT DAMAGE AREAS DOWNSTREAM.

ETHIOPIA'S NATIONAL WEATHER CENTER SAYS RAINFALL IN SOME AREAS
HAS BEEN THE HEAVIEST IN 20 YEARS. MORE RAIN IS EXPECTED OVER
THE NEXT MONTH. ETHIOPIA'S GOVERNMENT SAYS IT IS COORDINATING A
NATION-WIDE EFFORT TO REDUCE DAMAGE FROM THE FLOODING AND PROTECT
THE LIVES OF PEOPLE IN THE CENTRAL OROMO DISTRICT. (SIGNED)

NEB/SKS/JWH/CF

21-Aug-96 8:09 AM EDT (1209 UTC)
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