Tens of thousands left homeless in Benin floods

November 2, 2010 12:00 am

, UNITED NATIONS, Nov 2 – Worsening floods in the West African nation of Benin have destroyed 55,000 homes, killed tens of thousands of livestock and created a new cholera risk, the United Nations said Monday.

Rainfall has poured down in the West African nation since mid-September. More than 300 people have been killed this rainy season in western and central Africa and at least 680,000 people in Benin alone have been affected by the floods.

A UN statement said the Niger River was rising "worsening the situation".

About 200,000 people are in need of shelter, with over 55,000 homes totally destroyed, 128,000 hectares (316,000 acres) of crops ruined, and 81,000 livestock dead, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The World Food Programme (WFP) and aid groups CARE and Caritas have distributed food to thousands of homeless.

"Food is one of the most important needs," said Moumini Ouedraogo of the WFP. "Many people lost their crops because of the devastating floods — if we do not intervene in time, the consequences could be serious."

The UN Children’s Fund has provided 262,000 water purification tablets and hygiene material for 150,000 people. The World Health Organization has given supplies to treat 1,000 cholera cases and Medicines Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) is providing equipment to treat any cholera cases in the capital, Cotonou.


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