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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 September 2007, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
Floods devastate northern Ghana
By Will Ross
BBC News, Accra

A group of men struggle to swim to safety in Upper East Ghana - 7/09/07
Ghana's small navy has sent boats to help ferry people to safety
The severe flooding in several West African countries has seen Ghana hit hardest.

In the north of the country at least 20 people have died and an estimated 400,000 have been affected. Many of them are now homeless.

It is feared that outbreaks of diseases such as cholera are likely due to the contamination of the water supply.

The north of the country is relatively poor and most rural homes are built from mud and thatch.

The floods have washed away many such homes and they have also destroyed crops and people have lost livestock.

The whole country's food supply will be affected.

Dam released

The head of the government's national disaster management organisation, George Azi Amoo, said that in some areas whole villages had been washed away.

He said a relief effort had now been intensified and food and clothing were being distributed.

Materials to rebuild homes are also being delivered and the country's small navy has sent two boats to help ferry people to safety.

The homeless have been relocated to schools and other government buildings awaiting assistance.

The flooding in Ghana intensified when water was recently released from a hydro-electric dam in neighbouring Burkina Faso.

This may have partially eased the problem there but the consequences downstream have been catastrophic.

Floods have also been a major problem in Mali and Togo but in recent years this region has been battling not with floods but drought, with electricity supply badly affected due to the impact on hydro-electric dams.

Aerial footage of flood-hit areas in Ghana

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