Dramatic conditions in flooded Benin – humedica sends out medical teams

by Ruth Bücker, SRA, 2010/10/20

Two months have passed since the floods in Pakistan have caused massive damage and killed about 1700 persons. It had been a disaster that the world public hardly took notice of at first. In the West African state of Benin another flood of an extent unprecedented in the country is posing a threat to the people. A first medical mission team will set out for Benin on Friday.

Due to the disastrous situation in his country, the ambassador of Benin, His Excellency Isidore Bio, asked humedica for help some days ago: “From the south to the north, all the regions close to bodies of water, be it streams, rivers or lakes, are flooded”.

According to the diplomat living in Berlin and UN sources, the already severe situation is aggravating hour by hour, due to continuing torrential rains. Never before in its history had the country experienced a flood disaster of this extent.

Similar to the situation in Mozambique three years ago, Benin is currently threatened by a flood disaster of an immense extent. Photo: humedica/archive

Entire villages or parts of cities have been flooded so heavily that inhabitants had to leave behind their properties and belongings in order to save themselves”, wrote His Excellency Isidore Bio. In the meantime it has been officially confirmed that two thirds of the country have been flooded. 300,000 people have lost their homes due to the floods so far. According to estimates, one million of people are already threatened by the water masses.

The situation is deteriorating further due to spreading cholera in the flooded regions. According to first statements, 800 people have already been infected with the life-threatening disease.

On Friday, October 22, 2010, humedica will send out a first medical team to Benin in order to offer immediate emergency aid to the flood victims. The team headed by Judith Kühl (Tübingen) will soon start their work in cooperation with the local partner organisation Fondation Espace Afrique.

The first medical team consists of Prof Dr Dr Bernd Domres, a relief doctor from Tübingen and President of the Stiftung des Deutschen Instituts für Katastrophenmedizin (Foundation of the German Institute for Disaster Medicine), Dr Markus Hohlweck, a general practitioner from Bonn, as well as Simeon Janzen, a physician from Detmold; the participation of two more team members is currently being arranged.

In the mission area, our team will probably encounter not only cholera, but also gastro-intestinal diseases, as well as malaria, skin and eye infections, respiratory diseases and other disease patterns. Besides first medical aid, humedica is also planning to distribute relief gods and to support local hospitals on a longer term by means of supplying them with medical material.

Supported by the German Federal Foreign Office, which has provided 180,000 euros, the humedica team is to take up their work close to the capital Cotonou in the south of the country, where help is urgently needed at the moment.

humedica would like to ask you, dear friends and sponsors, to support our flood relief in Benin. Please help us make our mission for the flood victims a success by means of making 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 fast and direct way by means of sending a text message: send a text message containing the reference DOC to +49 81190. 4.83 euros of the total amount of 5 euros will be channelled directly into the humedica disaster relief projects.

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