Wikinews Shorts: November 7, 2009

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A compilation of brief news reports for Saturday, November 7, 2009.

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Disaster declared after flooding in Australia

Location of the state of New South Wales within Australia

Officials in in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) have declared a natural disaster on the country's eastern coast, after torrential rains flooded the area, cutting off major roads and stranding people.

Approximately 40 people were evacuated from the area due to the floods, and NSW emergency services minister Steve Whan declared a natural disaster. Over half a metre (20 inches) of rain fell in the area over two days, according to Whan. He added that this is the fifth significant flooding to affect the area this year.

"Conditions are now easing, following heavy rains [...] that resulted in minor to moderate main-river flooding and localised flash flooding," Whan said in a statement.


Nigerian officials block Niger imports

Map of Niger. Nigeria borders it to the south.

According to Niger transport unions, customs officials from neighbouring Nigeria have blocked trucks from crossing the border into the country, thereby blocking all imports, such as building materials and food supplies.

The blockade impeded vehicles travelling north into Niger, but not those travelling southwards, reports said. The interruption began on Tuesday.

The Nigerian government, however, denied that it ordered the borders to be closed, and did not immediately provide a statement or comment on it.


UNHCR seeks US$2.8 million to help Kenyan flood victims

A plane delivering UNHCR supplies to the Dadaab region after heavy flooding in 2006

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Saturday that it was appealing for US$2.8 million in aid to help 300,000 refugees in Kenya that were affected by heavy flooding.

It says that the money will be spent to provide essential supplies, help control possible outbreaks of disease, and to make engineering enhancements in refugee camps, mainly those in Kakuma, a town in the northwestern part of the country, and Dadaab, in eastern Kenya.

"We are also preparing to locate to higher ground within the camps refugees who might be worst affected by the floods, particularly the chronically ill, disabled people, the elderly and children and teenagers on their own," added a spokesman for the agency, Andrej Mahecic.