Benin: Severe Storms DREF Operation No. MDRBJ005 Final Report

Situation Report
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GLIDE no. ST-2009-000090-BEN

The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation's disaster response system and increases the ability of national societies to respond to disasters.

Summary: CHF 21,010 was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 5 May, 2009 to support the National Society in delivering assistance to some 300 beneficiaries.

The Red Cross of Benin (RCB) contributed to alleviating the suffering of people affected by the severe storms that caused heavy material damages in Challa Ogoï community of Ouessè in Benin during the last week of April 2009. The National Society procured and distributed some building materials to 60 selected most affected households. Accessibility in the target community was a major constraint, however the trained Red Cross volunteers from the affected community were able to sensitize an estimated 18,000 on good hygiene and sanitation practices. They assisted them as well in tree planting to reduce the impact of any potential storms in the future. The effort of the Red Cross has contributed to the prevention of outbreak of epidemics and also to the early reconstruction of some of the affected houses. The Red Cross also strengthened the capacity of its local branch through the training of volunteers on distribution and sensitization techniques. The participatory approach of the Red Cross enhanced its image in the community and strengthened its collaboration with local authorities.

The situation

The severe storms that preceded the raining season during the last week of April 2009 in Benin caused heavy material damages to an estimated 95 residential houses including a school building in Challa Ogoï in Ouèsse district of the Collines region of the country. The houses and the school building had their roof partially or completely destroyed by the storms. The heavy downpour that followed the storms resulted in the collapse of some of the houses built with mud. During an assessment carried out by the Red Cross of Benin in collaboration with the local authorities and the affected community, more than 800 persons including children and the elderly were affected with over 475 of them sheltered with family members and friends because of the severe damages.

The situation in some of the households temporarily sheltering the affected people became of health threat as their houses were overcrowded. Their poor living condition coupled with the rain falls were exposing them to epidemics such as malaria, cholera, diarrhea and some other water borne diseases. The local branch of the Red Cross in collaboration with the local authorities and the affected community carried out a preliminary assessment of the situation to know the extent of damage. With assistance from the International Federation, RCB intervened and assisted some of the affected families to reconstruct their houses including the school building. The National Society also carried out sensitization activities in the community and assisted in tree planting to prevent such disaster in future. The effort of the Red Cross was also complemented by the local authorities who also assisted some of the affected people with tons of cement.