Floods DREF operation n° MDRBJ008

CHF 167,461 has been allocated from IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Benin Red Cross (BRCS) in delivering immediate assistance to some 5,000 beneficiaries. Un-earmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.

Summary: Continuous and recurring heavy rains since the first week of July, 2011 has resulted in severe flooding of municipalities and communities of Lokossa, Athiémé Bopa and Cotonou Littoral. These areas are classified as high flood risk areas. According to information received from local authorities and local branches of the Red Cross, some districts that have never been flooded before were affected this year. Due to lack of access to the area because roads have been cut-off, detailed assessment of the areas have not been carried out, though reports from local authorities shows that dozens of huts built of black earth collapsed, affecting about 500 households within the inaccessible areas. No loss of life has been reported, a fact credited to the Early Warning System that was put in place in 22 municipalities. However, there has been extensive damage to poultry and livestock, and many hectares of farmland and crops have been destroyed.

The Red Cross has mobilized its volunteers to collaborate with local authorities to carry out rapid assessment of the situation to determine the needs of vulnerable households. Efforts are also underway to relocate the displaced households to possible temporary shelters. In view of the potential health dangers, volunteers have commenced awareness campaigns on issues related to water, hygiene and sanitation to help affected communities limit the spread of waterborne diseases. However, there remains a dire need to reach affected persons with needed relief, as well as provide for early recovery in affected areas as well as build preparedness capacities of the National Society in areas not yet affected.

Consequently, the BRCS, with technical support from IFRC’s West Coast Regional Representation (WCRR) has developed a plan of action to support 1,000 most affected households with emergency shelter, blankets, tarpaulins, water purification items, and mosquito nets, among others.

In addition, the National Society is also proposing to undertake preparedness activities and preposition materials for 1,000 households based on the ACMAD (African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development) forecast for flood risk countries which included Benin among high risk (category A) countries. The planned intervention will be supported by the International Federation through its DREF and the deployment of national disaster response team (NDRT) members whose presence is also expected to enhance the capacity of the affected branches of the National Society in emergency relief activities, especially in assessment. This operation is expected to be implemented over 3 months, and will therefore be completed by October 2011. A Final Report will be made available three months after the end of the operation (end January 2012).