UN urges aid for flood-ravaged Benin

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The United Nations on Wednesday appealed to international donors for 46.8 million dollars in emergency funding to help hundreds of thousands of victims of Benin's heaviest floods in a century.

More than 105,000 people have lost their homes and 680,000 people across nearly three quarters of the country have been affected so far, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement.

The numbers are expected to rise with more rains predicted this month, it added.

"Like much of the region, Benin was experiencing a nutrition and food security crisis before the floods hit," said Valerie Amos, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.

"The loss of homes, livestock, clothing, agricultural tools and seeds will have devastating and long-lasting effects for many people."

The UN appeal is aimed at providing 250,000 people with food and help with farming, while 680,000 people are targeted for health care and clean water supplies.

Seasonal heavy rains have been hitting West Africa for several months but many countries including Benin have experienced much heavier rainfall than usual.

The country is also grappling with a cholera outbreak that has killed at least seven people and infected 800, according to the OCHA.

© 2010 AFP

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