CHAD: People flee villages as Lake Lere overflows
World Food Programme (WFP) vehicle stuck in a flooded wadi in eastern Chad during the 2004 rainy season.
N’djamena, 14 August 2007 (IRIN) - In southwest Chad heavy rains on 9 August caused Lake Lere to overflow, flooding homes in dozens of surrounding villages.
People are now wading through water in search of dry land, witnesses told IRIN.
“I have seen terrible things,” a driver in Pala village in the Department Mayo Dallah, Galria Zoutene, told IRIN by telephone. “The worst has been at the village of Tikem where everything has been wiped away.”
People have been carried away by the floods, he added. “The body of a girl from the village of Goigoudoum was only found two days after she disappeared.”
The Secretary General of Mayo Dallah, Tchindebe Lama, is appealing for food, blankets, tents and other basic provisions.
The central government said it will soon make a request for international assistance. “We cannot deal with the situation alone,” the minister of social action, national solidarity and the family, Ngarmbatina Carmel Sou VI, told IRIN.
“The situation is very widespread and serious,” she said.
Flooding is also occurring some 400 kilometres east of Lake Lere, around the town of Am Timan, where local authorities have issued a communiqué saying the Bhar Azoum River is set to burst its banks and flood the town.
The local authorities called on the government in the capital, N’djamena, to be ready for the emergency.
However N’djamena has its own problems, particularly on its south-eastern periphery in the neighbourhoods of Habena and Kamnda. In July heavy rain and wind uprooted trees and tore roofs off houses. Flooding has continued since.
Every day people can be seen in knee-high water with shovels and picks trying to dig canals to drain the water.
According to the Weather Hazards Impacts Assessment for 9 to 15 August from Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET)
, after prolonged dry conditions heavy rains have caused flooding across the Sahel.