In the Johnstone region, for example, many people come from families that have resided in the area for several generations. In most cases, these people have either experienced a flood or have heard first hand accounts of floods from family members or friends. Therefore, they are likely to have a high level of flood awareness. However, these people may not be aware that there may be larger floods than those events that they have experienced or heard of. In addition, there are a significant number of new rural and urban residents in the region who may not have the same level of flood awareness. In some instances, these people:
= have not experienced a flood in the area;
= have not heard first hand accounts of previous floods;
= live in houses that are not near the river, but are actually in the floodplain and are subject to flooding; and/or
= are not likely to take flood warnings seriously.
Both groups of people, those who have a low level of flood awareness and those who may not believe that there will be a larger flood than the biggest historical flood, that should be the target of a flood information campaign.
Flood waters in Dadaab area refugee camps in north-eastern Kenya have begun receding, several days after heavy rains destroyed more than 650 refugee shelters in the camp, leaving more than 3,000 refugees homeless. A significant number of refugees' livestock was also killed in the torrential rains. Large sections of the two most affected camps - Ifo and Dagahaley - are still under water impeding access within and around the two camps which together host more than 80,000 refugees, mainly from Somalia. Many of the affected refugee families in Dagahaley camp have now been moved to safer places. Others have sought refuge among friends or relatives. By Sunday, field staff who had visited half the Dagahaley camp to assess the flood damage noted that 550 refugee shelters had either collapsed or had been washed away. In Ifo camp, some 10 km away, nearly 80 structures had been destroyed. Some five of the 11 schools in Ifo camp were still under water, disrupting the re-opening of schools after the April school holidays. Latrines in three schools in Dagahaley camp had also collapsed.
The International Red Cross said the recent floods in Haiti and the Dominican Republic (2004) killed hundreds of people and left thousands homeless, destroyed fields and houses, and killed cattle, the Haitian news agency AHP reported. Eyewitness accounts indicate over 2,000 people died, including 1,500 in the southeast region. The Red Cross, which has been aiding the flood victims, said restoring the heavily damaged drinking water distribution network was a priority to avoid infectious diseases, and added that problems in gaining access to disaster-stricken areas made evaluating the situation difficult.
The UN's World Food Program said humanitarian aid to flood victims should last two to three months. WFP representative deplored the decision by the U.S. military to end helicopter flights that facilitated distribution of aid. He said senior U.S. officials had told him such flights were not part of their mission.
Desertification is a process where the productive potential of arid and semi-arid land is reduced by the activities of humans. It is a serious and growing problem in many regions of the world including: sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, western Asia, northern Mexico and south-eastern South America, western United States, prairies of Canada, and eastern Australia. Scientists estimate that 60,000 square kilometers of new desert are now annually created worldwide.
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