Benin: Flood victims get swift international response

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The World Food Program (WFP) and aid groups CARE and Caritas have moved to distribute food to thousands of homeless affected by flooding in the West African country of Benin, where more than 680,000 people have been affected.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), rainfall which began in mid-September led to the rising of the Niger River; worsening the flooding situation in Benin.

But the affected population of Benin have received immediate response from the international community as WFP steps in with food aid.

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

Assistance also arrived from the UN Children’s Fund in form of 262,000 water purification tablets and hygiene material for 150,000 people.

So far, an estimated 55,000 homes have been destroyed, tens of thousands of livestock killed, and cholera risk is on the rise in the West African country.

“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,” a statement from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) read.

With a possible rise in Cholera outbreak, 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 city of Cotonou.

The economy of Benin remains dependent on subsistence agriculture, cotton production, and regional trade.

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