- The West African bloc ECOWAS has sent a delegation to Cotonou for a rapid assessment following severe floods that affected more than half of the country’s 77 communities early this month.
According a statement from the ECOWAS Commission, the delegation would visit most of the affected areas in Cotonou, Port Novo, the capital and the north of the country to evaluate the extent of devastation and the needs of the victims.
Earlier this month, Benin declared a state of emergency and called for international humanitarian aid after floods hit the south of the West African country. The government estimates that some 2,000 families have already been displaced by flooding.
Reports said close to 47 communities were worst affected and face serious threat of starvation and diseases. “Victims are said to need water, food, medicine, mosquito nets and clothing,” said the statement.
It said the mission which arrived in Cotonou on Monday, visited a number of affected communities where they are working with emergency services to pump water off the streets and residences to allow residents to resume their normal lives.
The officials said the unprecedented situation in which so many schools were also affected was mostly due to the effect of climate change and increased urbanization.
Experts say countries on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea including Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo are becoming more prone to floods.
Forecasts by the African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development for July to September 2009, suggest a high probability of rainfall higher than normal in these countries.
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