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Africa floods crisis 2007

Summary

  • Africa experienced its worst flooding for three decades in August and September 2007. More than one million people were affected by flooding in 20 countries – but in particular Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Togo and Burkina Faso.
  • Heavy rains destroyed homes and crops and displaced cattle, leaving whole communities vulnerable, extremely short of food and exposed to health risks.
  • The Africa Floods Appeal was launched on 20 September 2007 to support emergency operations in the stricken countries. The appeal raised £290,000 and is now closed.
  • The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement provided emergency relief to all the affected countries, delivering relief items including shelter, kitchen sets, blankets and water purification tablets. The Movement also provided water and sanitation, health services and hygiene promotion to those in crisis.

The International Red Cross response

Two men wade through flood waterThe International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies provided shelter, water purification tablets and hygiene products over six months to those affected by the floods.  It also sent out a number of teams to assess the severity of flood damage in the various countries.

Ghana

Ghana Red Cross volunteers evacuated buildings, provided first aid and educated people about flood prevention measures.

A Ghana Red Cross mother’s health project, run by local volunteers, proved invaluable in helping people affected by the floods stay healthy.  The Mothers' Clubs provide women with information on basic health care, personal hygiene, environmental sanitation and how to avoid preventable diseases, which they passed on to people living in their community during the floods.

Togo

Togolese Red Cross volunteers provided first aid and were involved in rescue and evacuation missions. They also distributed food and non-food items and educated communities about hygiene and the prevention of waterborne illnesses.

Burkina Faso

Residents bailing water from their homesThe Burkinabe Red Cross Society supported local authorities, carrying out preliminary assessments and providing assistance to flood-affected people by administering first aid, evacuating casualties, providing hundreds of displaced people with tents and distributing food, blankets, towels, soap, sponges, water buckets and parcels of second hand clothes.

Sudan

The Federation sent a water and sanitation emergency response unit to supply treated water to people in Kosti town of White Nile State.

Sudanese Red Crescent volunteers distributed mosquito nets, water treatment tablets, jerry cans and hygiene items as well as training communities to minimise the risks of epidemics. They provided safe water to around 20,000 people in Jabalen in White Nile State and Sodari in North Kordofan State.

The Federation repaired damaged pumps, provided an emergency water supply and built communal latrines. Mobile health units provided basic curative care while health and hygiene promotion helped people increase their resilience to water-borne diseases. 

Two boys carrying bikes through flood water

Ethiopia

Ethiopian Red Cross volunteers educated communities in Oromia in hygiene and sanitation. They supplied three case treatment centres with general hygiene and medical supplies.  Additionally, they sent cholera kits to four zones in the Oromia region. 

Uganda

The Uganda Red Cross responded immediately - providing thousands of vulnerable families with much needed supplies such as household items and water purification tablets.

The Uganda Red Cross focused on training community-based volunteers in several areas of disaster management, including first aid and hygiene promotion, as well as equipping the Red Cross branches with the tools they need during a disaster. Farmers whose harvests were destroyed will also be provided with seeds and tools help them replant their crops and regain their independence.

The British Red Cross Response

The British Red Cross launched an emergency appeal, which raised £290,000 to provide relief to people affected across the region.

Two British Red Cross logistics delegates and a reporting delegate, seconded from the British Red Cross to the Federation, were sent out to Uganda as part of a large assessment team to monitor the severity of the flooding.  A health delegate was also sent as part of a Federation team to assess the severity of the situation in Ghana.

The response of the Ugandan Red Cross was fast and efficient thanks in part to disaster preparedness projects of the British Red Cross.

“The British Red Cross and Uganda Red Cross have been working for years to ensure volunteers in these areas are trained and equipped. That’s why their response was so quick," said Ros Armitage, British Red Cross operations manager.

Last updated September 2008

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