Benin: deployed at a refugee camp – “We are the first to reach the flood victims with medical aid”

by Karin Uckrow/SRA,  2010/11/22

Large parts of Benin are still flooded. Over the past few weeks, massive rainfalls have turned the West African country into a disaster region. Hundred thousands of people in the flood regions need help urgently. Amidst devastated landscapes they are still fighting hunger and diseases.

Together with the medical teams of humedica, coordinator Karin Uckrow is making efforts to help the people in misery in Benin. Her current report tells about the consequences of a disaster that is hardly ever mentioned in the media.

Also for many children a tent city often is the last resort, since the floods have destroyed their homes. Photo: humedica/Karin Uckrow

“It is still raining, which is uncommon for this time of the year. But it is no longer raining as heavily as in the past few months and in most of the country’s flooded regions water levels are finally falling.

In order to offer medical help to the flood victims directly in the flooded regions, humedica has sent out a second mission team to Benin. Last week we were deployed at a refugee camp in the south of the country, close to the city Ouinhi. There are 769 persons living at this camp. Families that have lost their homes and mostly also all their belongings and property due to the heavy floods. Here they have found temporary shelter.

Living conditions are very simple, as always is the case at refugee camps. At least there are two wells thanks to which people are granted an essential access to clean drinking water. We hope that thanks to this fact also an outbreak of epidemics can be prevented. The camp’s inhabitants receive food from the United Nations World Food Programme. They will have enough to eat at least for the next few weeks.

Medical care for hundreds of refugees living at a remote camp in Benin. Photo: humedica/Karin Uckrow

The people living at the remote refugee camp had to do without medical aid for a long time. humedica was the first organisation to reach the flood victims with medical aid. Correspondingly large was the crowd assembled at our team’s working place. Despite the extreme heat, which was hardly bearable for us, the people living at the camp formed long queues and waited patiently in order to be treated by the humedica doctors.

On the first day alone, we could treat 285 patients. Most of the people attending our doctors, suffered from helminthiasis, respiratory diseases and malaria. Many of the older patients furthermore asked us for help because they suffered from spinal diseases and arthrosis.

We are thankful for the support we received from some local assistants. They helped the humedica doctor team and our interpreters by means of taking care of registering the patients and making a first general examination.

We are also pleased about the fact that our cooperation with local staff, as well as with the authorities in charge and other relief organisations deployed in the country works so well. This contributes substantially to facilitating our work in the flood regions.

Together with the humedica team she gives hope to the flood victims: nurse Irmgard Römpp. Photo: humedica/Karin Uckrow

Driving distance to our deployments is, however, often very long. It takes us more than four hours by car to drive to the refugee camp close to Ouinhi. Therefore we decided to stay at the camp this night. By doing so, our team was be able to treat patients until shortly before sunset; before all of us fell into our beds, exhausted after a long day’s work.

However, the night was only short. We were roused at half past three: a woman was close to giving birth. Equipped with torches, interpreters and the most important medical materials, the humedica team acted as midwives. At about four o’clock on this morning in November, little Marie Luise came into the world.”

Dear friends and sponsors, please continue to support our efforts to help the flood victims in Benin out of their misery. Please make a donation via our online form or to the account below:

      humedica e. V.
      Donation reference "Flood Benin"
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

You can also support us in a secure, fast and direct way by means of sending a text message: send a text message containing the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90 and make a donation of 5 euros, with 4.83 euros of this amount being directly channelled into the humedica disaster relief.

Thank you very much!

Our disaster relief projects in Benin are realised in cooperation with the Foundation of the German Institute for Disaster Medicine (Stiftung des Deutschen Instituts für Katastrophenmedizin, Tübingen) and supported by the German Federal Foreign Office (Berlin). Thank you for the excellent cooperation.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

Update my browser now×