- A United Nations disaster assessment and coordination team arrived today in Burkina Faso, where torrential rains that have soaked much of West Africa and at least five people have reportedly been killed and forced around 150,000 others to find alternative shelter.
The seven-member team is scheduled to begin assessing how it can help authorities respond to the most urgent humanitarian needs in the wake of the flooding that has inundated much of the capital, Ouagadougou.
Elizabeth Byrs, a spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told reporters today in Geneva that the main university hospital in Ouagadougou has been flooded and its patients have had to be evacuated.
Media reports have described the storms that brought the torrential rain to the capital as the worst in 90 years. This year’s rainy season in West Africa is unusually heavy, and Ms Byrs said as many as 350,000 people across the region have been affected.
In Niger, which borders Burkina Faso, about 3,500 buildings have been partially destroyed, with the Agadez region in the north said to be especially hard hit.
The annual rainy season has also been blamed for 25 deaths in Ghana, with its capital, Accra, among the worst affected areas, according to OCHA. Benin, Guinea and Senegal have also reported that tens of thousands of people in each country have had to deal with the effects of flooding.
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