Benin develops a co-ordinated early warning system for weather related hazards
By Ed Hill
All the various institutions that collect and disseminate weather and climate information in the West African country of Benin are now working together under one umbrella. These include the meteorological agencies, the national water department and the oceanographic institute, as well as organisations that release the information to the public, according to Arnaud Bruno Zannou, director general of water resources at the Ministry of Water.
In October 2010 Benin and its neighbouring counties including Ghana, Nigeria and Togo experienced severe flooding. In Benin, areas previously not considered vulnerable to flooding were inundated, leaving over 50 people dead and affecting more than two-thirds of the country – over 680,000 people in 51 out of 77 communes were impacted – the most extreme flooding since 1963. One of the weak points identified in the overwhelmed institutional disaster management framework was that of very poor communication between agencies.