by Staff Writers
Ouagadougou (AFP) Sept 6, 2012
Heavy rains and flooding since the start of June have claimed 18 lives in Burkina Faso and made more than 21,000 people homeless, an emergency aid official said Thurday.
"Since the beginning of the rainy season in June, we have 10 out of 13 regions that are affected and 17 provinces out of 45 have reported damage to us and asked for help from the state," said the permanent secretary of the National Council for Emergency Aid (CONASUR), Boubacar Diane.
Diane reported a toll of at least 18 deaths in the poor west African country, caused by mudslides and the collapse of buildings.
Most of the homeless people have been lodged in schools, but the new school year starts in October, he added.
"We rapidly need to find shelter. We have sent tents to the provinces, but we need to find more," Diane said.
In neighbouring Niger, at least 68 people have lost their lives and almost half a million have been affected by the floods, caused by heavy rain at the beginning of July.
Burkina Faso is facing a food shortage due to a bad harvest in 2011 caused by drought.
The country is also host to a massive influx of refugees from Mali, who have fled across the border since the north of their homeland fell into the hands of armed Islamist groups. At least 100,000 Malian refugees are registered by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
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