October 29, 2010
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said Friday (October 29) it is sending emergency supplies to Benin to help victims of unusually heavy rains and floods in the West African state.
Blankets, tents, plastic sheeting and sleeping pads were being airlifted from Johannesburg to the Benin capital of Cotonou as soon as possible.
Benin is hit annually by heavy rains and floods, but this year the rainfall was 2 ½ times heavier than during the same period last year.
At least 46 persons were reported dead, 680,000 others were affected, 55,000 homes were damaged along with nearly 300 school and other public buildings and there was widespread flooding of farmland and deaths of livestock.
The number of victims has increased rapidly since the middle of October and there are fears that cholera and other diseases might develop because of the deteriorating conditions.
JICA dispatches emergency supplies to victims of natural disasters around the globe.
Earlier this week it sent water tanks, water purifiers, jerry cans and plastic sheeting from its regional warehouse in Miami to the Caribbean island of Haiti where at least 300 people had already died and nearly 4,000 others were affected by an outbreak of cholera.
Haiti is still struggling to recover from the worst earthquake in the country’s history which killed an estimated 230,000 persons and destroyed some 280,000 buildings in January.
In addition to sending emergency supplies, JICA is also the secretariat to the Japan Disaster Relief (JDR) system which sends rescue and medical teams to assist in the aftermath of natural disasters.