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Tent airlift arrives in flood-hit Benin

by Staff Writers
Cotonou (AFP) Oct 28, 2010
An airlift of 1,500 tents arrived Thursday in Benin, the country seen as hardest hit by West African floods that have killed hundreds and left scores homeless this rainy reason, a UN official said.

"We received the first 1,500 tents taken from the (UN refugee agency's) stock in Copenhagen," said Habibatou Kologo, spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Benin.

"A second aircraft should follow on Friday with another 1,500 tents."

The tents will be delivered by truck to affected communities "according to a prioritised order that we have established," she said.

The 3,000 tents are expected to provide temporary shelter to some 15,000 people, according to Kologo.

Flooding in Benin has affected some 680,000 people, according to UN estimates. The UN refugee agency has already been providing tents and mosquito nets from limited supplies in the region, officials have said.

Families have also been building temporary shelter with scrap wood and metal, and a statement issued by the UN has previously warned that the humanitarian situation in the country was "becoming increasingly worrying."

Almost two-thirds of the nation was hit by flooding, the statement said.

About a week ago, the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said an appeal for funds and aid was being planned.

OCHA has said that the floods killed 43 people in Benin and left nearly 100,000 homeless. A cholera outbreak has added to the misery, with 800 cases counted across Benin, including seven deaths.

Aid organisations have acknowledged logistical problems in distributing assistance, indicating the country of some 8.8 million people did not have a sufficient stock of emergency supplies on hand.

Floods have hit a wide swathe of West and Central Africa in recent months, killing 377 people and affecting nearly 1.5 million since the start of the rainy season in June.

earlier related report
Floods kill 94 in Thailand
Bangkok (AFP) Oct 29, 2010 - The worst floods to hit parts of Thailand in decades have left at least 94 people dead, officials said Friday.

The Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand reported that 26 more people had been killed in the floods, which began on October 10.

The authorities estimate that several million people have been affected, with homes submerged and farmland or cattle destroyed, mostly in central and eastern areas. Bangkok has so far avoided major flooding.

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