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Helping Benin’s Flood Victims

Helping Benin’s Flood Victims

Hundreds of thousands of people in West Africa are struggling with floods brought on by unusually heavy seasonal rains. The death toll is 400, with some 1.5 million people displaced, according to United Nations Radio.

The nation of Benin, wedged between Togo and Nigeria, has been especially hard hit, with 680,000 of its 9 million people reportedly affected. The torrential downpours, more than twice the normal amount this time of year, have caused a level of flooding that far exceeds what the population is used to. 

An alarming number of cholera infections have been recorded, and sanitation has become a preeminent concern, according to SOS Children’s Villages, which has been in Benin for 23 years. Thousands of displaced people have taken shelter in public buildings, while access to clean water is restricted or non-existent. The floods have led to contamination of water used for drinking and cooking. 

Health officials say that an outbreak of water-borne diseases, to which children are especially vulnerable, is likely.

Francois Bellet, a UNICEF water and sanitation expert, told United Nations Radio, “Our main concern is that people go back to their destroyed villages and start using the damaged wells which are contaminated. There’s a high risk of child mortality and of an epidemic.” 

Many clinics across the country have been inundated and therefore are unable to function, according to the IRIN news service. This situation limits the care available to help people suffering from diarrhea and water-related infections. 

Benin is a poor country whose residents have low literacy rates. According to UNICEF statistics, 47 percent of the population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day. Poverty and limited education often exacerbate public health problems caused by natural disasters such as floods. 

SOS Children’s Villages on Site to Provide Emergency Assistance

SOS Children’s Villages will launch an emergency relief program in Benin to support 500 children and families affected by the floods. SOS efforts will focus on flood victims in the town of Bonou, in southeastern Benin. In this area crops were destroyed, houses damaged, and livestock decimated. SOS will provide basic necessities such as food, drinking water, mosquito nets, blankets, tents, and medical supplies.

For more information, please visit SOS Children’s Villages.

 

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photo credit: SOS Children's Villages
By Kyna Rubin, SOS Children's Villages

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34 comments

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6:50PM PST on Nov 14, 2010

Thanx for article.

8:55AM PST on Nov 10, 2010

do help benin citizen, what happened far away could just as well happen to us !

6:42AM PST on Nov 9, 2010

Some disasters get front page press, huge fundraisers and Hollywood treatment, and some are just flyspecks on the windshield as we race down the information superhighway.....Too bad for these flood victims they weren't trapped in a Chilean mine....

4:33PM PST on Nov 8, 2010

Anybody happen to notice the numerous new catastrophic flooding? For how many years did environmentalists predict this? It is time for our government to take the lead in offering resettling to people in coastal areas, and if they refuse, not to expect much help when flooding occurs. The day of the 'new shoreline' is here, friends, and governments had better take a pro-active stance on the issue.

4:31PM PST on Nov 8, 2010

Thank you for the article.

12:54PM PST on Nov 8, 2010

Like tgis is the 1st Im hearing of this...Wheres the exposure? smh I just dont understand the people in this world...I will help i whateva way I can and I will also pray for these poor people....Sorry to hear this...

11:21AM PST on Nov 8, 2010

I have little to donate, but I will help where I can.

12:08AM PST on Nov 8, 2010

extremes in wealth leads to the poverty in the world. somehow some middle level needs to be reached. "The nature has everything for everyone's needs, but not much for a few people's greed". Whoever has it, has it in abundance. Whereas others do not have it just for mere survival.

11:37PM PST on Nov 7, 2010

I have to comment on how beautiful this woman and her children look in their traditional dress! Where on earth is that Billionaires Club with 40 of the riches people on earth?!!!
It's discusting how much press they made for themselves and then a few months later said they are investing 20 million dollars to research where best to put their money into education!
Seems like these billionaires are truly suspect and have no real intention of helping anyone but themselves with some efficient tax loopholes. Ugh!

10:10PM PST on Nov 7, 2010

"Global Warming" and Climate Change, is not just about melting the icecaps and threatening polar bears. It is disrupting weather patterns thruout the ENTIRE Planet.

People settled in places and developed methods of agriculture and food production, according to the established patterns of weather on the Planet for centuries, with small variations.
It is OUR, the Developed Countries, Greenhouse Gas Emissions that are causing disruptive weather patterns EVERYwhere; too much rain one place, not enough rain another place. We are making life as it was lived, IMPOSSIBLE for people and animals alike.

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