October 29 2010

SOS Children's Villages to help victims of floods in Benin

29/10/2010 - SOS Children's Villages will launch an emergency relief programme to support 500 children and families affected by floods. Victims of the inundations will be provided with supplies to cover the most urgent needs.

After Benin suffered the heaviest inundations the West African country has seen in decades, SOS Children's Villages has decided to help children and their families in the municipality of Bonou, in the Ouémé department. Here, several hectares of crops were destroyed, houses damaged and livestock decimated. SOS Children's Villages will provide children and their families, some 500 people in total, with basic necessities, such as food, mosquito nets, medical supplies selected especially for this specific situation, drinking water, blankets, and tents.

An alarming number of cholera infections have been recorded and sanitation has become the preeminent concern. As thousands of displaced people have taken shelter in public buildings, access to clean water is restricted or non-existent. The floods have lead to the contamination of water used for drinking and cooking, and health officials say that an outbreak of water-borne diseases - to which children are especially vulnerable - is likely.

Nearly two thirds of the West African country have been affected by the recent floods. More than 360'000 people have either lost their homes, been displaced, or were otherwise affected, according to UN sources. Unusually heavy seasonal rains, more than twice the normal amount, have caused a level of flooding that by far exceeds what the population is used to.

SOS Children's Villages' facilities and programmes in Abomey-Calavi, Dassa-Zoumé and Natitingou are not affected.