Monday, August 07, 2006

Nearly 200 dead in Dire Dawa town (Ethiopia) floods

The death toll from flash flooding that swept through an eastern Ethiopian town over the weekend has risen to nearly 200 people and 300 others were still missing, police said on Monday.

The Dechatu river burst its banks and flooded Dire Dawa town overnight on Saturday, drowning many or burying them in sandy debris as they slept. The death toll rose as police recovered bodies after clearing sandy debris with bulldozers on Sunday.

Dechatu river overflowed,
sweeping water through the city

"One hundred and ninety-one people are dead, and we have 300 others unaccounted for, based on reports from relatives and our officers," police inspector Benyam Fikru told Reuters.
Police on Monday were expected to resume recovery operations, after pausing for the night.
The surge destroyed at least 220 homes in the town located in Ethiopia's lowlands, 525 km (326 miles) east of the capital Addis Ababa.

Heavy rains in Ethiopia's highlands during the June-August season usually cause rivers in lowland areas to overflow.



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