Flash floods uproot 26,000 people in western Ethiopia

October 5, 2010

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Flash floods in Ethiopia’s western tip of Gambella region have displaced 26,000 people and damaged swathes of crop-land in several areas of the region, a joint assessment report by relief agencies disclosed. Heavy rains in parts of Ethiopia, including Gambella Region, led to flash and river flooding temporarily displacing some 26,000 people.

The floods also damaged 1,280 hectares of crop-land in Lare, Itang, Gambella Zuria and Gog districts and Gambella town, according to the report by the UN relief agencies operating in the region.

However, the report confirmed that the emergency requirements of the affected population have been addressed in timely fashion, with food aid distributions conducted in August and early September.

Water guard and oral-rehydration solutions have also been dispatched to the affected population, the UN office for Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) report said Monday.

The report recommended continued emergency food aid distribution to the 26,048 people displaced and the provision of corn-soya blend for 35 per cent of the affected population.

Additional plastic sheeting, mosquito nets and water treatment chemicals are among the prioritized needs.

Provision of early-maturing seeds is recommended ahead of the upcoming recession farming period.

Veterinary interventions, including livestock treatment and vaccination, valued at two million birr, have also been included in the report.

Meanwhile, the likelihood of further flooding is decreasing in most parts of the country, with the end of the rainy season.

Ethiopia receives heavy rains between June and October.

The Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Sector, which brings together government and UN agencies involved in humanitarian efforts, has issued a report indicating that no new incidents of flooding have been reported in the past two weeks.

The latest National Meteorological Agency forecast predicts below-normal rainfall in the eastern half of the country in the coming months, including the pastoral areas of Borena zone (Oromia), South Omo zone (SNNPR) and the southern zones of Somali Region, despite the pote ntial for further flooding during the forthcoming short rainy seasons.

Ethiopia’s Water Ministry said the water levels in dams and rivers around the country are being closely monitored.

Controlled water discharge started from Koka and Gilgel-Gibe dams, with all precautionary measures undertaken, including construction of reservoirs and gorges to channel the water released from the dams to prevent destruction of property and infrastructure in downstream areas.