Saturday, May 21, 2005

Ethiopia Flash Floods Kill 20

At least 20 people, including six children, were killed in flash floods overnight on Friday after an intense, sudden downpour pounded Ethiopia's southeastern town of Dire Dawa, officials said on Saturday.

Hospital officials in the town, about 520 kilometres from the capital, said they had received 17 bodies, six of which were children, but police said the death toll was higher.

"We are still recovering bodies and we cannot give exact figures, but our initial report indicates that 20 people were washed away and have all died," said Derege Betru, a police official in Dire Dawa.

He said rescue and recovery teams were still searching for bodies in the town, near Somali state where at least 170 people died and more than 260 000 others were displaced by massive floods last month.

We are "assessing the situation, we hope we will have clearer picture later in the day", Derege said.


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