The United Nations is mobilizing aid to Benin, where nearly 700,000 people have been affected by severe flooding, with the world body and its partners shortly set to launch a humanitarian appeal to help the flood-stricken in the West African nation.
According to latest assessments, some 680,000 people in 55 of Benin’s 77 municipalities have been affected by the flooding.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today that water, food and emergency shelter are among the priority needs in flooded areas.
Cholera cases have been reported in some areas, with fears that the epidemic will spread.
OCHA noted that food is being distributed in flood-hit parts of Benin and that several new emergency shelter sites have been identified.
The Office has also allocated an emergency cash grant for tents and to support logistics operations, with a humanitarian appeal for funds to help flood victims under way.
For its part, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will airlift supplies, including tents, from its emergency stockpiles in Copenhagen to Benin in the coming days.
The agency focuses on helping the 7,300 refugees and asylum-seekers in the country, but “we have been called upon to help with the emergency shelter needs of some of the homeless people in the southern parts of the country where we have a presence,” agency spokesperson Adrian Edwards told reporters in Geneva today.
He also expressed concern over the increasing number of people affected by the flooding.
“Seasonal heavy rains have been hitting West Africa for several months and normally last until November,” Mr. Edwards noted. “However, what has happened this year goes well beyond normal flooding for Benin.”