Kenya + 6 more

Urgent appeal launched for people suffering across Africa following severe flooding

The British Red Cross is sending relief experts to countries across East and West Africa as it launches its Africa Flood appeal to raise funds to help some of the most vulnerable people caught up in the severe flooding in the region.

More than one million people are affected across countries including Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Togo and Burkina Faso. The unusually heavy rains have displaced cattle and destroyed crops leaving whole communities vulnerable and extremely short of food. Thousands of houses have collapsed under the torrential conditions and, since it is still the rainy season, the situation will continue to deteriorate.

According to the authorities so far some 200 people have died across 17 countries and more than 650,000 have lost their homes.

Moira Reddick, head of disaster management at the British Red Cross, said: "There are serious health concerns due to the potential spread of waterborne diseases, such as diarrhoea, as well as malaria due to the breeding of mosquitoes in stagnant water - flooding has also contaminated wells and destroyed latrines."

She added: "There is also danger of a serious food security problem, because of the widespread destruction of grain stores and crops in fields."

Experts in health and hygiene promotion, logistics and communications from the British Red Cross are being sent to countries across the region including Uganda, Kenya and Ghana to assist in the emergency response.

The British Red Cross, working alongside the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, is raising money to provide urgently needed relief, including shelter and water purification tablets, to those affected by the crisis.

ENDS

Notes to editors

The Africa Floods Appeal will cover past, present and near future flooding events in numerous countries throughout the continent, including those currently affected and those potentially affected in the future. In the unlikely event that we raise more money than can be reasonably and efficiently spent, any surplus funds will be used to help us prepare for and respond to other humanitarian disasters either overseas or here in the UK. For more information or to donate to the appeal visit redcross.org.uk/africafloodsappeal

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.

For further information:

Georgina Cooper,
Media and PR officer
Contact number 020 7877 7479
(out of hours pager: 07659 145095)