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ETHIOPIA: Flood water recedingNAIROBI, 26 September 2006 (IRIN) - The flash floods that hit parts of Ethiopia in August have started receding in the north, one of the most heavily affected areas, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.
"In South Gondar zone of Amhara Region [north], 16 out of the 21 flooded kebeles [zones] in Fogera, Libokemkem and Dembia woredas [districts] have completely dried up," said OCHA. "The displaced people from these areas have been advised to return to their villages by the local authorities," OCHA said in its weekly bulletin on humanitarian issues on Monday.
Ethiopia experienced the worst floods in its history in August, affecting all five regions of the country. In Dire Dawa city in the east, thousands were made homeless after the Dechatu river burst its banks on 6 August.
Across the country, at least 357,000 people have been affected by the floods, which made 136,528 homeless, according to the UN. In total more than 600 people died.
As the excess water has receded farmers have started preparing their land for new planting but many depend on the provision of seeds by humanitarian agencies after most were washed away, the agency warned.
Meanwhile, in other parts of the country floods are still affecting thousands of people, according to OCHA. A district in the eastern Somali region was flooded in the last week of August, seriously affecting two administrative units. In Gambella, 600 km southwest of Addis Ababa, up to 31,000 people are still seriously affected by the floods in eight districts, according to a regional report.
"The risk of malaria outbreak, following the cessation of the main season rains and the recession of the floods, continues to be of major concern," according to Monday’s bulletin.
The UN agency said the humanitarian partners had responded generously to the 2006 Flash Flood Appeal, with about US $18 million - more than 65 percent of the requested $27 million - secured.