Friday, November 12, 2010

Cholera fears in Benin's flooded city of Cotonou

BBC: Benin has not experienced such severe flooding for 47 years - when the rising waters were blamed on the traditional voodoo deities that many people in this small West African nation still worship. Some 680,000 people have been affected by the floods - and more than a quarter of the country has been under water since mid-September.

… "It is true that the flood has taken a huge toll on human and livestock casualties - apart from displacing great number of residents, but I do not believe that the gods are to blame," says Dr Adeyinka Adebayo. He has been helping with Cotonou's cholera outbreak, which has so far killed 60 people - although the official records only reflect those who died in hospitals. "I would rather say that it is a result of global warming which we have been hearing about for some time."

…This week, the government appealed again for aid, saying it needed $46m (£28.5m) as thousands of homes have been demolished, more than 80,000 head of livestock have been lost and many crops have been ruined. The UN refugee agency's Angele Dikongue-Atangana says so far about 20,000 tents have been distributed to the estimated 200,000 people who have been displaced - and more tents are being sent out daily….

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