Addis Ababa – Regional officials and rescue workers in eastern Ethiopia said they were faced with “horrendous” health problems in lowland areas where receding floodwaters have exposed the population to malaria and other diseases.
“The problems in areas where the floods had receded are serious, wide-ranging and likely to get worse for the weak – mothers, children and the elderly who have been emaciated with drought-induced malnutrition,” said the representative of the Ethiopian government relief agency in a report.
There had been “adequate” food grain in the region before the flooding, intended for drought relief, but the report quoted the Ethiopian officials as saying they were “re-assessing relief food needs as the result of the floods that have also destroyed tons of flour and food grain in warehouses”.
Abdulreshid Dulene, chief executive of the Somali region in Ethiopia, said international help was needed.
“We need outside assistance to cope with the prevailing health problem. We have lost precious water wells and rural health services in the affected areas. They have been made useless through flooding,” he said.
According to estimates from officials in Ethiopia and Kenya, at least 70 lives have been lost so far and more than 160 000 people have been driven from their homes by the floods caused by torrential rains that started on Sunday in East Africa. – Sapa-DPA