FLOODING EFFECTS 357,000 ETHIOPIANS: U.N.
SEPT 14 2006
The number of Ethiopians affected by last month's devastating flash floods has reached 357,000, including 136,528 forced to abandon their homes, a U.N. humanitarian agency said on Thursday.
Flooding from overflowing rivers has killed some 1,000 people in parts of Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia since early August.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) said Ethiopia's northern Amhara region was the worst-hit in the giant Horn of Africa nation, with 97,000 people affected, of which 37,000 have lost their homes.
"Large areas of cropped land in the Amhara region are swamped by the floods," it said in a report.
The report said Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile River, has expanded by 50 meters (160 ft) and increased the risk of further flooding.
Flooding typically occurs in Ethiopia's lowlands after heavy rains in the June-September season drench the highlands. This year's flooding was especially damaging because it followed severe drought.
Dembia district in northern Gondar zone is among the areas that have suffered severe flooding, with six temporary shelters only accessible by boat, the U.N. report said.
UN-OCHA estimates the number of flood-affected people in the southern Oromia region has risen to 77,000 due to fresh inundations in eight districts in East Haraghe zone where 2,000 hectares (4,900 acres) of farmland was flooded.
The number of affected people in Mustahil and Hargele in Ethiopia's Somali region has reached 45,000 and 32,450 respectively, it added.
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