Severe floods affect 275,000 people in Ghana

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The Army responds to a little-known disaster.

Colonel Dennis Strissel, Ghana Territorial Commander, makes a formal presentation of Shelter boxes to the community.

With reports that 275,000 people in the African nation of Ghana have been affected by recent flooding, it’s hard to understand the lack of international attention: “The magnitude of the disaster is unbelievable, yet nobody is talking about it…. It’s amazing!” said Benonita Bismarck of the Ghana Red Cross.

“So severe were the floods that some victims were forced to take up refuge in trees, and others had to be rescued by boats,” reported The Statesman newspaper.

Ironically, earlier this year drought in Ghana caused poor crops. Now, flood damage in a region supplying 45 percent of Ghana’s agricultural needs will result in an even greater food shortage. “We are looking at a major disaster in the months to come,” said Bismarck.

The Salvation Army has a small presence in the affected areas, but Salvationists are responding. Colonel Dennis Strissel, territorial commander, reported: “One hall is being used as a shelter for flood victims who had to evacuate their homes. Many of the homes are nothing more than mud, so we expect them to have been washed away. Many roads are washed out and access to the victims is limited.”

Shelterbox survival kits
The Army, in partnership with the UK charity Shelterbox, has provided survival kits for 600 people, at a cost of $100,000. These containers include everything a family needs for short-term survival: tents, insulated ground sheets, thermal blankets, multi-fuel stoves, other cooking equipment, tools, mosquito nets and water containers. Local people greeted their distribution with relief and appreciative cheers.

Tom Henderson, director of Shelterbox, commented: “We are so pleased to be able to partner with The Salvation Army, and hope to develop this relationship should future emergency situations require our joint response.”

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