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Tens of thousands left homeless in Benin floods: UN

by Staff Writers
United Nations (AFP) Nov 1, 2010
Worsening floods in the West African nation of Benin have destroyed 55,000 homes, killed tens of thousands of livestock and created a new cholera risk, the United Nations said Monday.

Rainfall has poured down in the West African nation since mid-September. More than 300 people have been killed this rainy season in western and central Africa and at least 680,000 people in Benin alone have been affected by the floods.

A UN statement said the Niger River was rising "worsening the situation".

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, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The World Food Programme (WFP) and aid groups CARE and Caritas have distributed food to thousands of homeless.

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

The UN Children's Fund has provided 262,000 water purification tablets and hygiene material for 150,000 people. 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, Cotonou.

earlier related report
Thailand's flood crisis hits south, clears hospital
Bangkok (AFP) Nov 1, 2010 - Thai hospital staff said they were forced to evacuate patients on Monday as the kingdom's flooding crisis, which has killed more than 100 people in three weeks, spread to the south.

Na Thawi district hospital in Songkhla province was forced to close and transfer 37 patients to another medical centre after the area was hit by early morning flash floods, director Suwat Viriyapongsukit said.

"Floods have reached the building at around one metre high and we cannot operate," he told AFP.

Authorities say the nationwide floods, which began on October 10, have affected about five million people and left 101 dead, although until now they were mostly in central, northern and eastern parts of the country.

The south is facing heavy rain this week and officials warned of further flash floods in the region, although the problem has subsided in some areas further north.

Tens of thousands of people across the country have sought medical treatment, mostly for itchy skin, common colds and stress, while homes have been submerged and farmland and cattle destroyed.

This week the government is expected to start paying compensation to more than 600,000 households affected by the floods, which are expected to cause a 0.3 percent drop in Thailand's 2010 gross domestic product.

Bangkok has been on standby with thousands of sandbags and pumps as flood water from the north runs downstream and could coincide with high tides.

So far the capital has avoided major flooding, although more than 1,000 homes along the Chao Phraya river have been partially submerged.

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Togo floods leave 21 dead, more than 82,000 affected
Lome (AFP) Oct 29, 2010
Flooding in the small West African nation of Togo has killed 21 people and affected more than 82,000 in recent months, the government said on Friday, adding that victims were in need of aid. "The number of people affected by the floods is 82,767, including 21 deaths and 85 injured," Communications Minister Djimon Ore said in a statement carried by state media. Floods have hit a wide swat ... read more

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