In recent weeks rain and cold weather has swept through northern Senegal killing around 500,000 livestock, destroying 20,000 homes and damaging 2,500 hectares of crops. In the Podor region, where USE is based, the severe weather has destroyed over 13,5000 homes and killed 55,000 livestock. For many families the loss of these animals represents the loss of their life-savings. There is also concern that unless the carcasses are incinerated quickly they could pose a major health risk.
USE has been affected by the flooding.The organisation's offices have been badly damaged and will need to be rebuilt. The General Secretary of USE, Mr Mamadou Diop said: "Thousands of families have lost their homes and belongings. They are now crowded into schools and other temporary shelters. They need tents, mattresses and blankets to protect them from the cold weather which persists."
USE has requested support to respond to the urgent needs of 4,000 people who have lost everything. The organisation is aiming to protect surviving livestock and provide temporary housing materials, seeds, tools, medicines and health and sanitation education. Christian Aid has released =A330,000 towards this work and is also considering a proposal for long-term reconstruction later in the year.