IMAGE: FLOODED AREA
Katy Pownall  /  AP
This area in eastern Uganda was still under water on Wednesday.
updated 9/21/2007 1:59:08 PM ET 2007-09-21T17:59:08

Aid agencies were appealing for millions of dollars Friday to help more than 1 million Africans affected by deadly floods that have swept across the continent.

The United States planned to send $100,000 for Uganda — one of the hardest hit countries — and Europe announced more than $15 million in aid for flood victims across 17 countries. The floods have killed at least 200 people and displaced hundreds of thousands since the summer in central and eastern Africa.

"If we don't get food people will die in this place," Francis Aruo, 28, told The Associated Press in eastern Uganda, one of the hardest-hit regions of Africa. "All our crops are rotten."

The United Nations asked for $43 million for Uganda, where 50 people have died. Theophane Nikyema, U.N. Humanitarian coordinator for Uganda, said the money will help address the "devastation left behind by the rising tide of water."

In Uganda's Amuria District, which was put under a state of emergency this week, more than 500 people were taking shelter in a seven-room schoolhouse, which was meant to open for a new term last week.

"It's a struggle for accommodations," said Gilbert Omeke, the school's head teacher. "Some people are fighting for space. I have designated one classroom for expectant mothers and the elderly but so many more don't find space."

UNICEF was distributing basic disease-prevention kits, including plastic sheeting and water purification tablets, but medical officials said illnesses were spreading.

Florence Asega, a nurse at the closest health clinic to the school, some three miles away, said children were increasingly suffering from malaria and diarrhea.

"In the cramped, wet conditions coughs and infections spread quickly," she added.

In nearby Katakwi District, latrines were overflowing and hundreds of mud huts had collapsed. The nearest World Food Program distribution site was nearly four miles away, through waist-high floodwater.

Aruo has made the journey twice so far, returning with 65 pounds of maize, groundnuts and cooking oil for his wife and three children.

"It's a very tedious journey because it is water the whole way, the food is very heavy and some people have to leave some behind because they can't carry it," he said.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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