CHF 483,047 has been allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to start the planned activities. Discussions are currently taking place to reallocate approximately CHF 550,000 remaining from the 2007 West Africa floods appeal to support this appeal. While these discussions are underway, partners are encouraged to provide timely support to this appeal.
Summary: Given the evolving climatic forecasts, this preliminary Emergency Appeal responds to a request from National Societies in West and Central Africa, and focuses on providing timely and appropriate support to pre-emptively prepare to provide rapid flood relief during the 2008 rainy season. Preparations will be carried out through contingency plan development, flood relief supply pre-positioning, and volunteer training. With this appeal the Federation is providing creative and flexible tactical support to National Societies in the region to take action before the disaster occurs, with the main component being the creation of relief stocks strategically located in Dakar, Senegal, Accra, Ghana, and Yaoundé, Cameroon. This will enable the Federation to provide timely and qualitative support to National Societies emergency interventions on an as needed basis. Depending on the actual flood occurrence, the Federation will encourage a country-based approach, with the launch of separate country appeals, separate project codes, and respective operations updates.
This operation will be implemented over 2 months, and will therefore be completed by September 2008.
Over the last two years, the West and Central Africa region has experienced severe floods that have claimed thousands of lives, with extensive damage to property and an enormous impact on livelihoods. West Africa is one of the most vulnerable regions in the world in terms of disaster impact and the number of persons affected. It is also one of the poorest regions of the countries listed in the global Human Development Index of the Human Development Report released annually by UNDP.
Given the humanitarian challenges in the region, it is vital to consider all possible means of reducing the impact of disasters. The International Federation is increasing its commitment to the early and timely analysis of meteorological information that can be critical in efforts to pre-emptively prepare for weatherrelated disasters. This information is available through climate science organizations, which have made enormous strides in their forecasting capacities. Through partnerships with these organizations, the Federation is now able to make use of appropriate seasonal predictions to assist National Societies to enhance their planning, preparedness, and response capacities process in order to effectively deliver assistance to where it is most needed.
Rainy seasons over the last 5 years in West Africa have not taken place in normal patterns. Heavy rains sometimes occur over short time periods, producing too much water to be absorbed. Desertification, reduced plant coverage, urbanization and inadequate drainage exaggerate the detrimental effects of heavy rains, causing topsoil and crop loss. These challenges are linked to climate change. In this context, above normal rainfall results in an increased risk of floods.
Meteorological information: The seasonal forecast for July, August, and September 2008 indicates that the northern part of the region will likely experience 'wet' conditions, the middle will experience 'very wet' conditions, while 'near normal' conditions will be expected in the south. There is a potential for extreme events particularly floods mainly in the Volta region.
Based on this information, the Federation is expecting strong precipitation anomalies for most of West Africa, with a high risk of flood occurrence. Particularly at risk are the countries of Zones I and II where higher than normal rainfall is anticipated (with the significantly high probability of 0.45 and 0.50 respectively, compared to the historical probability of 0.33 of higher than normal rainfall).
The probability of rainfall deficit is
thus very low in the sub-region. This increased probability of higher than
normal precipitation over the region, one on which all climate scientists concur for the upcoming JAS rainy
season, motivates this DREF.
For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:
In Dakar: Alasan Senghore, Head of Zone, West and Central Africa Zone, phone:+221 869 36 40, Fax:+221 33 820 25 34, email: firstname.lastname@example.org ; Youcef Aitchellouche, Disaster Management Coordinator, email: email@example.com
In Geneva: Niels Scott, Operations Coordinator for West Africa; phone: +41.22.730.4400; email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tunay Firat, Officer, Management Support Team, email: email@example.com; phone: +41.22.730.4415;