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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 August 2006, 03:53 GMT 04:53 UK
US joins Ethiopian flood battle
Ethiopian troops prepare aid for flood victims in Omo River area
Ethiopian troops are airlifting help to marooned villagers
US troops have joined emergency rescue operations in Ethiopia where flash floods have killed hundreds of people and left tens of thousands homeless.

Ethiopian officials said troops from the US base in neighbouring Djibouti arrived in the eastern city of Dire Dawa with tents and sanitation gear.

In the south-west, herders marooned by the floods refused to be rescued by helicopter, Ethiopian forces say.

The herders said they did not want to abandon their cattle.

One herder in the town of Omerate was quoted as saying "survival without cattle would be meaningless".

The flood near Omo River hit people who have little resources for survival in the first place
Fitsum Arega, Hawasa

Thousands of flood victims remain stranded in drastic circumstances in the south-west Ethiopia, where the River Omo burst its banks.

About 900 have died in the floods in several regions of Ethiopia in the past two weeks.

Flooding often hits low-lying parts of Ethiopia between June and September, when heavy showers fall on dry regions.

But correspondents say the situation is much worse this year.

Map

In the far north, thousands of people in Tigray province are battling floods along the Tekezie river.

The eastern city of Dire Dawa has been declared a disaster zone.

The team of 35 US "Seabees" brought 52 big tents with them to house displaced people, the US military said.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Aerial footage showing flooded fields and farmland



SEE ALSO
Hundreds lost in Ethiopia flood
07 Aug 06 |  Africa

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