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Togo: Red Cross helps 10,000 isolated flood victims

09-09-2008 News Release 08/166

Lomé (ICRC) – The Togolese Red Cross, with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), today began distributing essential household items to 10,000 isolated victims of the recent floods. The distributed items – cooking utensils, sleeping mats, clothes, mosquito nets, soap, buckets and tarpaulins – should help the victims to cope with the challenges they are facing.

In late July and early August, torrential rains pounded the Maritime and Gulf regions of southern Togo for almost a week, causing extreme flooding in which six people died, nine bridges collapsed and many clay houses were destroyed in several dozen villages on the banks of the Zio and Haho rivers.

“The rivers overflowed, causing loss of life and considerable damage to property,” said Minlib Nam, the prefect (administrator) of Kpendjal. “There had been nothing like it in 40 years,” exclaimed Sovon Kodzo, a 70-year-old flood victim in the little village of Ziowounou.

“I lost everything,” said Lamboni Sandjoa, who lives in Kati, in Agou prefecture, some 140 kilometres north-west of Lomé. “The floodwaters swept away my house, my goats, my chickens and all my possessions. All I have left are the clothes on my back. My family and I survived only by climbing up a tree. The relief items we just received will help us to manage, but we’re exhausted.”

“The operation that is starting today is intended to complement the work of other humanitarian organizations. After consulting with the other components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the Togolese Red Cross and the ICRC are focusing on helping flood victims in the 27 towns and villages that are hardest to reach,” said Jean-Jacques Tshamala, an ICRC regional delegate based in Abidjan.

“The aid distribution took some time to organize on account of the road conditions,” added Emmanuel Placca, who heads the ICRC’s office in Lomé. “We also had to carry out an assessment of needs in order to make sure that our aid would go to those who need it most,” said Norbert Panya, t he president of the Togolese Red Cross.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Jean-Jacques Tshamala, ICRC Abidjan, tel: +225 224 000 70 or +225 9 399 407  

 Emmanuel Placca, ICRC Lomé, tel: +228 9114859