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Burkina Faso

Aid urgently needed for those displaced by severe flooding in West Africa

© UNICEF Burkina Faso/2009
A flood survivor holding her baby in front of their destroyed house Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso, 8 September 2009 – Burkina Faso and its capital city, Ouagadougou, were among the regions most affected by severe flooding that raged across West Africa early this week.

According to information released by the government, eight people have lost their lives and a number of others are still missing. The week’s unprecedented rainfall destroyed more than 24,600 houses in Ouagadougou and surrounding areas. The capital’s main hospital, Yalgado Ouédraogo, was also flooded and its equipment badly damaged.

Patients were evacuated to other health facilities in the city, where extra capacity had to be added to accommodate them. Much of the city's infrastructure – including roads, bridges and public buildings – was also destroyed or damaged.

Need for relief funds

“There are at least 130,000 people displaced who are temporary sheltered in schools, churches, mosques in some 93 sites,” Prime Minister Tertius Zongo said, adding that there would be an immediate need for relief funds.

Many displaced residents have found refuge in the homes of friends and relatives. Those people – both the displaced and the host families – urgently need food, medical assistance, mosquito nets, water and sanitation, among other support.
UNICEF’s emergency programme in Burkina Faso is working to immediately address the most critical needs of women and children.

© UNICEF Burkina Faso/2009
Flood-affected children from the Lanoa-Yiri neighbourhood in Ouagadougou take refuge in a health centre.

A struggle for survival

“Non-food items were delivered to the mayors of the five sectors of Ouagadougou city where the population has been displaced – in Baskuy, Bogodogo, Boulmiougou, Nongremassom, Sigh-Noghin," said UNICEF Deputy Representative in Burkina Faso Sylvana Nzirorera. The supplies included blankets, impregnated mosquito nets, water purification tablets, buckets, lamps, plastic tarps and hygiene kits, she added.

“For those thousands of displaced people, among them some 60,000 children, there is now a struggle for food, shelter and survival,” said Ms. Nzirorera, “made even more difficult by the real and growing threat of disease and epidemic spreading through the flooded areas.”

Following the first rapid assessment by the National Disaster Management office, UNICEF teams have been working with the government and other partners to assess immediate needs in health, water and sanitation, education and the protection of children and women from flooded areas.

“UNICEF is organizing back-to-school kits for children from the affected families,” said Ms. Nzirorera. The government is also working to organize new sites for displaced residents and to prepare flood-affected schools to re-open in early October.



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