(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Up to 70,000 affected by floods

Tens of thousands of people have been affected by the worst floods in 10 years in the Kankan region of eastern Guinea, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Friday in a situation report.

The floods occurred after the River Niger and its tributaries - the Sankarini, Fie, Milo and Djon - overflowed. They have affected up to 70,000 people, 40,000 of whom have been displaced, OCHA reported the Guinean authorites as saying. The worst hit prefectures are Mandiana, Kouroussa, Kankan, Siguiri and Kerouane. Many areas are still inaccessible and distribution of aid to the population has been suspended, OCHA said.

Flooding in low-lying areas has caused extensive damage to agriculture and crops: some 1700 ha are submerged. There are reports of food shortages and an increase in the price of staple foods. There is no health threat so far but, OCHA reported, the situation could change as flood waters recede. A sensitisation campaign on waterborne diseases is being planned by the Guinean Red Cross in collaboration with NGOs.

The Guinean government has provided 150 mt of food and medicines, worth some US $27,000, to the affected areas. The local Red Cross plans to distribute non-food items, mainly soap, to 15,000 affected people in Kankan on 24 September, OCHA reported.

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