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Flood victims face food insecurity

[Rwanda] Woman farming in Rwanda.
Woman farming in Rwanda (FAO)

Hundreds of people in Rwanda's northwestern region displaced by floods are suffering from food insecurity, a local government official has said.

"The term 'disaster' cannot really capture the suffering of the people here," Pénélope Kantarama, the governor of Western Province, said on Wednesday. "The unfolding humanitarian situation must be taken seriously. If the floods continue to threaten these people, we will have to seek humanitarian aid from other partners."

She added: "Many of the residents have lost their potatoes, beans and vegetable plantations. At least 241 people from Bigogwe and Muramba cells in the same region are particularly vulnerable and 46 other families are facing hunger."

Although the floodwaters have been receding, residents from the worst-affected areas fear more rains could aggravate their situation as they have had only a little help from humanitarian organisations and local authorities. The displaced lack adequate drinking water, soap, clothes and medical care.

The floods, in late 2006 and early this year, caused extensive damage to buildings, household property and crops in the region, submerging at least 5,000 homes and 3,000 hectares of farmland. The floodwaters caused the Sebeya River to burst its banks, causing more damage to surrounding areas.

The region's mayor, Ramadhan Barengayabo, said the floods had killed at least 24 and displaced more than 2,000 people since December 2006. The floodwaters also destroyed up to 354 homes in Rubavu and Nyabihu Districts.

The mountainous northwestern region has the largest number of flood victims, with the damage to property from the latest floods estimated at US $122,000.

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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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