WFP food reaching victims of flooding across Ethiopia

Published on 14 September 2007

WFP has said that distributions of food assistance to more than 60,000 flood victims across the country had started amid some overcrowding in temporary shelters and threats of an outbreak of water-borne diseases.

WFP has said that distributions of food assistance to more than 60,000 flood victims across Ethiopia had started amid some overcrowding in temporary shelters and threats of an

The floods hit most parts of the country, but in some areas it appears that communities were better prepared and avoided widespread displacement and loss of life
WFP Ethiopia Country Director Mohamed Diab

outbreak of water-borne diseases.

WFP is part of a government-led assessment team travelling to three flood-affected regions to determine the extent of needs following the recent flooding and its longer-term impact.

“Food distributions have started to the women, children and men hardest hit by the floods and WFP will work with the concerned authorities to do whatever needs to be done,” said WFP Ethiopia Country Director Mohamed Diab.

Displaced

An estimated 183,000 people in Amhara, Afar and Tigray in northern Ethiopia, in Gambella in the West and in SNNP in the South were hit by the seasonal floods.

A total of 42,000 people have been displaced. Some are living in temporary shelters such as schools and mobile health clinics or under plastic sheeting. Others have been taken in by relatives or friends.

The Government has sent 1,400 metric tons of WFP food, including grain, vegetable oil, biscuits and enriched blended food to assist more than 60,000 people. The Government and aid agencies have also dispatched additional food and non-food items such as tents and cooking utensils.

Preparation the key

“We are waiting for the return of the assessment mission to see what more needs to be done by the Government and humanitarian partners,” said Diab.

“The floods hit most parts of the country, but in some areas it appears that communities were better prepared and avoided widespread displacement and loss of life,” he said.

To date, the death toll from the flooding has reached 17 people, while some 4,000 head of livestock have been drowned or washed away, and 34,000 hectares of land has been damaged.

For relief and emergency activities, WFP in Ethiopia works closely with the Government and local authorities that are responsible for the transport and the distribution of food assistance following distribution plans based on the results of vulnerability assessments in the hardest-hit areas.

Over-crowding

The number of displaced in Amhara Region is rising, leading to over-crowding in temporary shelters and the threat of outbreaks of serious communicable and water-borne diseases such as acute watery diarrhoea and malaria. Some estimates show that 100-200 people are displaced each day.

There are also fears that the increased water levels of the Omo and Wabelle Shabele rivers caused by the heavy rain in the West and central highlands could lead to more flooding.

In 2006, Ethiopia experienced some of the heaviest and most intense flooding that it had ever seen. More than 600 people were killed and there was also extensive damage caused to infrastructure and property.