DAKAR (AlertNet) - The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) will extend its support to another 360,000 people in Benin whose lives have been disrupted by the West African countryÂ?s worst floods in living memory, a spokesman said.
At present WFP is feeding 50,000 people who have been driven from their homes by the deluge. The organisation will include the additional beneficiaries in its food distribution scheme from December and from then on will feed a total of 410,000 people until May, WFP regional spokesman Malek Triki told AlertNet.
Even before the floods, an estimated 1 million people in Benin suffered food shortages and more than one-third of children under five were chronically malnourished, according to a U.N. report.
Unusually heavy rains since mid-September have caused rivers to overflow, destroying 128,000 hectares of farmland and 12,000 tonnes of food stocks.
"The loss of homes, livestock, clothing, agricultural tools and seeds will have devastating and long-lasting effects for many people," Valerie Amos, United Nations Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said earlier this month.
In its new push to help flood-affected communities, WFP will hand out food and nutritional supplements but also give food in exchange for work and run cash-for-work schemes.
Food deliveries by WFP and other aid agencies are slow in the areas were flood waters are receding and trucks get stuck in the mud, according to the latest update from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
It also said that the risk of waterborne diseases remains high.