20 November 2007

South Africa: Flood Relief Continues in Togo

Lome — Aid agencies are continuing to extend relief efforts in Togo, three months after the worst floods there in 30 years.

This comes as water recedes in parts of the West African country, which had been cut off by the water, thus blocking access to aid workers.

United Nations agencies have been able to access some 60 000 people in recent weeks and provide them with enough food for the next two months, UN spokesperson Michele Montas said.

A grant of $1.5 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allowed UN agencies - including the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) - to implement emergency projects to help the hardest hit Togolese.

The floods in August, which followed heavy rainfall across West Africa, killed at least 23 people in Togo and left tens of thousands in need of aid, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Certain areas of the country are still inaccessible because the floods destroyed roads and trails, and WFP officials are considering travelling by boat down the Oti River in northern Togo to reach those areas.

Other relief efforts are concentrated on preparations against potential disease epidemics, gathering further stocks of food and developing a national strategy for disaster prevention and management.

The floods have affected some 800,000 people in 14 West African countries - Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger, Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal, Gambia, Liberia, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Guinea.

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