The first flight in a United Nations emergency airlift carrying urgently-needed shelter for victims of Benin’s flood disaster arrived today in the southern city of Cotonou.
The 1,500 tents sent by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are part of the overall UN response to the floods, which have affected over 700,000 people in the West African nation.
Benin is the country hardest hit by the recent floods that have affected over 1.8 million people in parts of Central and West Africa, and have killed nearly 400 people, UN News Service.
Authorities in the country, along with the non-governmental organization Caritas Benin, are coordinating the distribution of the newly-arrived tents as well as other humanitarian assistance to the affected population.
A second flight carrying an additional 1,500 tents is scheduled for Friday.
UNHCR’s regular operations in Benin are aimed at providing protection and assistance to some 7,300 mostly Togolese refugees and asylum-seekers located in the south of the country. The agency is assessing to what extent they have been affected by the disaster.
The agency has also been called on to help with the emergency shelter needs of some of the homeless people, particularly in the south. It has already been providing tents, mosquito nets and blankets from its stockpiles in the region.
“As a priority, the first to receive tents will be those who have been left homeless and who are presently squatting along the roads with no alternative accommodation,” said UNHCR’s Representative in Benin, Angèle Dikongué-Atangana.