|© UNICEF Burkina Faso/ 2007|
|The floods have wreaked havoc in Karangasso-Sambla and neighbouring localities, leaving many people homeless.|
By Jean-Jacques Nduita
KARANGASSO-SAMBLA, Burkina Faso, 15 October 2007 – All that is left of 14-year-old Jeanne Dye’s family’s home is a heap of stones. Two months after torrential rains caused disastrous flooding in Karangasso-Sambla, Jeanne vividly remembered the night her whole life turned upside down.
“I was retuning home from the farm when the first rain began to fall,” Jeanne recalled. “Access to our house was very difficult, because the whole place had been flooded. I had hardly entered my house when it began to collapse.”
Jeanne was rescued from the debris with her left arm sprained; a piece of wood fell on it when the building was collapsing. The family was reduced to living in an old school with 46 other people.
Urgent need for shelter
The floods have wreaked havoc in Karangasso-Sambla and neighbouring localities. Out of a total population of 25,000, about 5,000 inhabitants have been affected. The floods left over 500 people homeless and destroyed about 30 granaries.
The rains also rendered the roads impassable so that despite the best efforts, vehicles carrying vital supplies could not reach Karangasso-Sambla right away.
In preparation for the reopening of the school, the town’s prefect, Traoré Sibiri, began putting the necessary measures in place to ensure that those living in the building could be relocated. Tents were donated to enable the disaster victims to at least have temporary shelter.
The hope of things to come
A joint mission visited the locality to assess the damage and the needs of the victims. The mission used the combined efforts of UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the World Health Organization and the National Council for Emergency Aid and Rehabilitation.
As part of UNICEF’s national response in the most affected areas, the organization provided kits including clothes, high-protein biscuits, medication and insecticide-treated bednets to prevent malaria.
The disaster is also taking its toll on health facilities. The number of patients visiting the town’s health centre, especially those under 10 years of age, increased sharply in September. Head nurse at the Karangasso-Sambla health centre, Mr. Da Pascal, said the majority of people seeking treatment are suffering from malaria.
One month after the disaster, the residents of Karangasso-Sambla were still looking for additional aid. Still, there is the hope of greater things to come in young Jeanne.
“My wish after this disaster is to go to the university immediately,” Jeanne said.