Description of the disaster
The rainy season in Côte d’Ivoire, started in May 2020 and has been characterized by heavy rainfall, high winds, and thunderstorms. On 25 June, after 240mm of rain fell within a few hours in Abidjan District, two children have been reported dead in Adjame and one was declared missing from ensuing flash floods. Several roads have been cut and houses damaged, cars upturned and dragged through streets and residents taking refuge on roofs or clinging to walls and trees. Firefighters responded to several calls for assistance, mostly in the suburb of Cocody which was among the worst hit areas. Police reported they rescued or evacuated 36 people in several areas of the Abidjan district. According to figures from the country’s meteorological office SODEXAM, Cocody recorded 2,408 mm of rain and Abobo 146.4 from 24 to 25 June 2020. Police initially confirmed the two fatalities and late on 25 June, Civil Protection (ONPC) reported that 5 people have died and 1 missing.
Prior to the event mentioned above, on 17 June 2020, torrential rain over a couple of days caused flooding in the southern parts of the country, including the country’s economic capital Abidjan. Local media reported that at least one person had died in the floods in Abidjan, with several others injured. Flooding also caused infrastructural damages in the city. Buildings were destroyed and roads were blocked, disrupting transportation. Among the worst hit areas are the districts of André Château d´Eau, Abobo-Belleville and Riviera Palmeraie. As a direct consequence of these torrential rains, on 18 June, a landslide swept away about twenty houses and railway tracks in Anyama, in the northern part of Abidjan, leaving at least 13 people dead and many missing, buried under muddy rubbles. Indeed, Abidjan recorded over 260mm of rain in 48 hours.
Civil Protection in Côte d’Ivoire (ONPC) also reported flooding in Grand-Bassam, a coastal town near Abidjan, and in Adiaké Department, further east along the coast, where firefighters were called on to carry out several rescues on 15 June. Civil Protection said flooding caused material damages but no loss of life. The town of Adiaké recorded 106mm of rain in 24 hours on 16 June. Heavy rain also affected areas of the south west of the country. According to news agency Agence Ivoirienne de Presse (AIP), levels of the Cavalla River were extremely high in Tabou Department. Tabou recorded over 210mm of rain in 48 hours to 15 June. In the north east of the country, AIP reported that heavy rain and flooding had blocked roads in Tehini department, leaving the town of Tougbô cut off.
At the moment, a total of 12 localities in Abidjan (Abobo, Adjamé, Anyama, Cocody, Port-Bouet and Yopougon) and inland (San-Pedro, Alépé, Divo, Azaguié, Niakaramadougou and Tabou) are affected as seen in Table 1 above. At least 1,229 households with 8,256 people are affected by the disaster, losing their basic necessities, food, and household items. There are also at least 41 homes and 01 school destroyed, 32 persons injured, and an overall 16 deaths registered to date. At least 260 households (1,560 people) are also homeless and relocated to host families or temporary sites. Faced with this situation, the Civil Protection Service has urgently summoned the various actors, including the Red Cross, to coordinate operations. It should be noted that this period corresponds to the rainy season (May - August) and according to the weather service SODEXAM, heavy rainfall is announced in the coming days. Continuous flooding have been registered in all these locations until 28 June and orange (3rd level of 4) level warnings issued for parts of Abidjan District.