Heavy rains have caused flooding in Benin, Liberia, Ghana and Gambia since the start of the rainy season in late June according to governments and non-profits.
Higher-than-average rainfall is expected this season in the southern Gulf of Guinea zone, including parts of Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, coastal Nigeria and Togo, said the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Governments and non-profits are responding to floods in the following countries:
Heavy rains hit in late June causing heavy flooding in the south of the country, especially in coastal regions. Some 2,000 houses and several schools were submerged, and 13,464 people affected, according to the Benin Red Cross. The government of Benin declared its first state of emergency in recent years.
A crisis coordination cell, led by the government with UN agency and NGO participants, has been meeting daily to monitor the situation. An initial assessment from the Geneva-based UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team estimated 43 of the country's 77 communes have been affected.
“We are looking for more information to indicate where we need to go. We are focusing on areas that have not yet been assessed,” the head of the UNDAC coordination team, Ingrid Nordström-Ho, told IRIN on 14 July.
UNDAC, the IFRC, government representatives and NGOs will carry out further rapid assessments on 15 and 16 July.
The IFRC launched a disaster appeal on 10 July to help provide shelter, food, medicines, teaching materials, and construction materials to affected people in Benin. Its partner, the Benin Red Cross, started distributing non-food-items to Cotonou residents on 13 July, aiming to reach 5,200 people.
The regional humanitarian adviser from European Union’s humanitarian office, ECHO, travelled to Benin on 13 July to review ongoing relief coordination efforts.
The government has estimated 500 flood victims nationwide, mostly in rural areas, since rains started in June.
A 2 July storm hit Banjul, the capital of Gambia, destroying hundreds of houses according to the IFRC. The non-profit is providing roofing materials to 150 families for home repairs.
June storms killed at 13 and displaced hundreds in the capital, Accra, and the Central and Volta regions, destroying homes and businesses and prompting the government national disaster management committee, NADMO, to respond.
But gaps in response have led the IFRC to distribute shelter kits and cooking equipment to 1,000 families in flood-affected areas.
NADMO, NGOs and the IFRC are currently assessing the situation to see if further help is needed.
“The government’s emergency coordination mechanism in Ghana is well-established, so this is our response for now, but we may step up depending on whether the needs change,” said IFRC'S West Africa disaster management coordinator, Youcef Ait-Chellouche.
NGOs will also be monitoring potential crop damage due to floods in the eastern Volta region said the IFRC.
Heavy rains in early July displaced hundreds of residents from their homes on the outskirts of the capital, Monrovia, according to the government. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf set up an emergency task force headed by the Ministry of the Interior to lobby for relief assistance. Thus far the government has provided food to those displaced in Monrovia’s suburbs.
Two other counties affected by floods are Grand Cape Mount in the northwest on the Sierra Leone border, where 1,500 residents have been displaced in the town Sowee, and Grand Gedeh in the southeast, according to local authorities.
Heavy rains in early July caused several small floods in the southern maritime region. The government and Red Cross are assessing damages.
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