Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Floods Displace Thousands in the South

An Ethiopian truck carrying food aid is stranded after the Wabe Shebel burst its banks in May 2005. Around 7,000 people have been left homeless by raging flood waters in southern Ethiopia, after heavy rain caused rivers to burst their banks in the Horn of Africa's Oromia state.(AFP/File/Lea-Lisa Westerhoff)

Reuters AlertNet.com -- Floods left one man dead and several thousand people homeless after heavy rains caused rivers to burst their banks in southern Ethiopia, an official said on Wednesday.

The Awash River - the longest in the country at 1,200 km - burst its banks, flooding farmland and homes in the country's largest region, Oromiya.

"The Awash and Meki rivers have overflowed and engulfed the surrounding farmland," Chala Horodow, the head of emergencies in the region, said. "We have helped transport people from the area that was flooded. One man was washed away in the floods."

He said more than 3,000 people had fled their homes to escape the flooding, which took place in the Gara Leman area, some 225 km south of the capital, Addis Ababa.

"The water is subsiding now," he said, adding that the situation was being brought under control.

In April, flooding killed around 155 people in eastern Ethiopia's Somali region. A month later, flash floods killed at least 32 people in the country's second largest city, Dire Dawa.

The Awash, used by farmers to regenerate soils, often floods its banks.

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