Caritas is appealing for US1.8 million (1.3 million euro) following heavy flooding in the West African country of Benin. Over 350,000 people have been affected by the floods and dozens have died.
The impact of the floods is massive: 130,000 hectares of crops have been ruined; 55,000 houses and over 270 schools have been damaged, as well as many roads and bridges.
“It’s a dramatic situation. There are people who have lost everything and need a lot of help. We’re very worried about the future and the risk of food shortages because of the damaged crops. Many children can’t go to school. What impact will this have in the long term?” says Philippe Ahouanye, Emergency Director for Caritas Benin. “We haven’t really seen anything like this before. It started raining in July, it rained all through August and it is still raining. However, it now looks as though it’s finally stopping. Let’s hope that it is.”
Caritas will help people cope with the immediate effects of the floods by giving basic food items to around 4000 families. Around 20,000 families will also receive essential items such as mosquito nets, blankets, mats, buckets, as well as medicines and hygiene items.
Medicine and hygiene items will include water purification tablets and anti-malaria drugs. People are at serious risk of stomach upsets from drinking contaminated water in flood situations. Floods provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes which can carry malaria.
Caritas will give uniforms and school items to 3000 children to facilitate their return to the classroom.
Longer-term actions by Caritas include helping 2000 families rebuild their houses and providing seeds to 7000 farmers to they are ready plant when the floods have subsided. It will also raise awareness about the risks of flooding to people’s lives.
The disaster in Benin is part of wider flooding in West Africa that has affected 1.7 million people in Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo. Benin is the worst-hit country.
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