Thursday, October 16, 2014

Floods displace 8,000 Ethiopian families

The flooding came in the wake of heavy rainfall, measured at between 45 and 91 millimeters

World Bulletin/News Desk

Some 8,000 families have been displaced by the recent overflowing of Ethiopia's Awash River across the country, the Ministry of Water, Energy and Irrigation said Wednesday.

"Households are being moved to higher ground and given temporary shelter," ministry spokesperson Bizuneh Tolcha told Anadolu Agency, asserting that no casualties had been reported thus far.

"The Ministry of Defense, UNICEF and other donor organizations are working in collaboration with the ministry in an effort to distribute food aid and other materials to the displaced," Tolcha said.

"Food aid, medicine, canopies and other household utensils are being dropped from the air by Defense Ministry helicopters," the spokesperson added.

He went on to note that cotton and sugarcane fields, covering more than 5,200 hectares of land, had also been flooded.

Efforts are currently underway to repair a dike that was breached by the floodwaters, he said, adding that all necessary equipment – including heavy trucks, excavators and bulldozers – had already been dispatched to the area.

Repairing the dike would serve to minimize flood damage in other areas, Tolcha said.

The flooding came in the wake of heavy rainfall, measured at between 45 and 91 millimeters, he added.

The Awash River has its source in the central Ethiopian highlands, West of Addis Ababa, and flows towards the Rift Valley. Its basin covers an area of 110,000 square kilometers in Ethiopia's Oromia, Afar and Amhara regions.