WASHINGTON, May 29, 2015 — The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a new US$40 million International Development Association (IDA)* credit for Benin to improve its infrastructure and minimize the negative impacts of the 2010 floods as well as increase the level of preparedness for any future flooding.
In 2010 the heavy rains in Benin created unexpected rising water levels that overwhelmed the country’s traditional preventive response and resilience mechanisms. As a results 278 schools were flooded and more than 50,000 houses were destroyed leaving 150,000 people without shelter.
The new financing approved today will help expand activities and scale-up the on-going Emergency Urban Environment Project, one of the government’s flagship projects that has been addressing the negative effects of the 2010 flooding disaster by focusing on upgrading, cleaning and repairing urban drainage networks, solid waste management, and wastewater and sanitation infrastructure.
“An additional 94,000 people will no longer be subjected to periodic flooding with today’s new financing that will build on the original project and help improve and expand access to reliable drainage systems in poor areas of Benin,” says Ousmane Diagana, the World Bank’s Country Director for Benin.
A Drainage Master Plan and a Solid Waste Management (SWM) Strategy was prepared under the original project in 2014. It revealed significant clogging in numerous points in the drainage system, which, if not treated, could bring about further flooding. Today’s financing will address these gaps as well as expand the number of people who will benefit. Specifically it will finance activities to clean existing canals, rehabilitate substandard and unsound drainage structures while extending them by approximately 8.1 km, and construct and expand three additional storm water retention ponds. In addition it will also help finance additional solid waste collection points and transfer stations, purchase waste transportation equipment for the municipalities, finance a Flood Early Warning System (FEWS) study as well as studies on coastal erosion sites and emergency preparedness plans.
Benin is a coastal country with a population of ten million people and agricultural provides employment to about 70 percent of the workforce. The floods ruined 128,000 hectares of crops and farmland and an estimated 12,000 metric tons of food stocks were lost because of destroyed storage facilities. The loss of these essential assets created a reduction in people’s income and a rise in prices due to scarcity of agricultural products.
“Scaling up the activities to increase the geographic scope and number of people who will benefit from the rehabilitate watersheds systems is helping to boost human and ecological resilience to climate change,” says Africa Eshogba Olojoba, the World Bank Task Team Leader for this Project.