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General News of Saturday, 8 September 2007

Source: IRIN

Floods force some 10,000 from their homes

DAKAR, 7 September 2007 (IRIN) - Flooding in northeast Ghana has killed at least six people and displaced some 10,000, according to local news reports.

Local media reports said floods destroyed some 4,500 homes in the Upper East Region after torrential rains from 24 to 29 August.

Sources in Ghana could not be reached due to problems with international calls to the country, but local news reports compiled by IRIN recount widespread destruction in the region.

The floods reportedly resulted in part from a dam break in neighbouring Burkina Faso. Some reports said Burkina had opened a spillway of the Bagre Dam, but this could not be confirmed. An Agriculture Ministry official in Burkina Faso told IRIN that floods had destroyed many dams in the country over the past month.

From 24 to 25 August 112mm of rain reportedly fell in the town of Sandema, where three people were reported dead.

The flooding is also said to have caused the collapse of major bridges in the Upper East Region.

“So severe were the floods that some victims were forced to take up refuge in trees, and others had to be rescued by boats,” according to The Statesman newspaper. Many of the victims are reportedly farmers whose crops have been destroyed, the paper said.

Government officials have visited the region to assess the damage and announced they would deliver initial relief supplies to those affected.

Regional authorities had appealed to the government, charitable organisations, religious bodies and non-governmental organisations for help, local radio said.

The flooding has raised water levels in Lake Volta, Ghana's main energy supplier. Low water levels in the lake and the adjacent Akosombo Dam had caused persistent power shortages in Ghana.