Four days of devastating floods along Ethiopia's desolate eastern border have killed more than 60 people, and prowling crocodiles were hampering rescue efforts as rain continued to fall, officials said Tuesday.
The floods began Friday when the Shebelle River overflowed its banks in the Ogaden region, more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from the capital, Addis Ababa. Rain was expected to continue through the week.
In August, flooding across the country killed more than 600 people and displaced about 50,000.
"Sixty-seven people have died since the worst flooding hit Friday, and the crocodiles in the area are eating some of the bodies," said Muktar Mohammed, flood coordinator for the government-run Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau.
Four survivors have been injured in crocodile attacks, he added.
"We need helicopters, boats and food and medical supplies urgently," Muktar said.
Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world, with more than half of its 77 million people living on less than US$1 a day. The Ogaden region, along the border with Somalia, is the center of a long-running conflict between the Ethiopian government and ethnic Somalis who want to establish an independent state there, reports AP.
Muktar also said more than 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of crops were washed away in the floods, along with thousands of cattle, camels, donkeys and other livestock.
Aid groups were sending food and other help to the region, officials said.
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