The International Red Cross said on Thursday that more than 35 000 people had lost their homes in Central African Republic (CAR) floods with at least 5 people were killed as a direct result.

This is an upward revision of official figures announced on Monday (October 28) by the Prime Minister who said more than 20,000 people were made homeless by the floods caused by the Oubangui river bursting its banks and continuous rains.

Residents said they had not seen such flooding for at least 10 years and rains at what should be the end of the rainy season were not letting up. Many schools have closed.

Red Cross co-ordinator for Central Africa, Antoine Mbao Bogo said many people were seeking shelter in their friends’ homes but thousands had nowhere to go. A temporary shelter was set up in the capital Bangui’s basketball stadium which has no basic facilities such as toilets or cooking areas.

Health authorities fear a rise in waterborne diseases.