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Disease spreads in Benin as floods continue

media Inondations au Bénin, village de Atikpeta, octobre 2010 OCHA

Two-thirds of the African nation of Benin is underwater, with at least 43 people killed and nearly 100,000 made homeless.

Heavy rain began falling at the start of October, and the Rivers Oueme and Mono soon overflowed. Thousands of hectares of land, mostly used for growing rice and other vegetables are now underwater.

“Here, the water isn’t going away. We have it up to our knees and now it’s as high as our thighs," said one resident. "The water, it’s everywhere, and it’s very difficult for people to escape. To get to work or to go and do the shopping, you have to leave your vehicle and take a small boat. Then when you arrive on dry land, you take a taxi motorbike."

The UN's children's fund, Unicef, reports 800 cases of cholera and warns of the risk of waterborne diseases.

Working with seven other agencies, it has provided 262,000 water purification tablets, 15 water tanks, as well as Plumpy’nut, which is a high-protein, ready-to-eat paste – to help prevent malnutrition.

A UN flash appeal for Benin is being prepared to fund ongoing aid operations.

In neighbouring Togo, about ten people have died and nearly 3,000 people have lost their homes in recent floods, the government announced Wednesday evening.

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