DREF EPoA no. MDRCM028
Description of the disaster
The ongoing rainy season in the Far-North Region resulted in a break of the bank of the Logone river in the Far-North Region, which separates Cameroon and the Republic of Chad. The heavy downpour on 4 October 2019 resulted in rising water levels and inundated the neighbouring communities. Authorities registered up to a 30m rise in water level between end of September and 4 October 2019, which caused serious flooding in the Maga Sub-Division, affecting the following communities: Nohoye, Pinfoung, Koundouma, Guiding, Sarahara, Lahai, Guirvidig, Dawaya, Gounmi and Mourna.
Due to lack of shelter, the inhabitants of these villages sought refuge on dikes. Currently their basic food sources are the fish from the inundated river and other animals that were caught by the flood. River water is the population’s unique source of water, used to meet their day to day domestic needs (cooking, dishwashing, bathing, etc.). While, water points, which are flooded as well, are still frequented by some families. There are no toilets and the population closest to the river will decline evacuating the dikes. Faeces could be found in the immediate surroundings as well. There is a risk that drinking water sources could be contaminated with floodwaters, which have higher levels of bacteria.
Contaminated floodwaters increase the risk of waterborne diseases, such as cholera. Already a number of cholera cases have been identified in the communities of Karhay, Gane, Zouwaye, Datchek, Yagoua, Zebe (located in the Yagou sub-division)1 therefore raising the possibility of an epidemic outbreak.
As the river has overflowed, there is a risk that agricultural activities and livelihoods may be impacted in Far North, where over 70% of the population living in this area are farmers. The effects on agriculture may further exacerbate food insecurity in the region. Communities living along the Logone river are reluctant to be relocated to safer areas.
The Far North region ranks last in terms of education. People living in rural areas, the poor and women are the most disadvantaged with regards to literacy rate of people aged fifteen and above.
Flooding has restricted access to several villages, canoes are being used to reach certain areas in the department, as many roads have been reported impassable as they have washed away. As the country is experiencing its rainy season, it is highly likely that the heavy rain will continue hence raising further the water level in the rivers of the affected area.
On 8 October 2019, the Senior Divisional Officer for the Logone and Chari Division issued an authorisation of official access to the local teams of Cameroon Red Cross in collaboration with the support of the French Red Cross, to carry out an assessment of the impact of these floods in the Zina and Ngodeni. On 12 October, the provisional statement sent by the Red Cross Committee of Mayo Danay reported serious damages in terms of injuries and material loss, as detailed below:
• 270 families (1,890 people) have been rendered homeless in Maga, including 463 children (under 5), 349 pregnant women and nursing mothers, and 31 people with special needs.
• 3672 affected families (2,569 people) in Kai Kai sub-division have been relocated by the authorities to safer villages such as Kourbouc, Arabay, Djoko, Baria Godjo, Yanga, Kelo, Damaraou et Soukomaye, Sarata 1 and 2.
• Many cases of injures have been recorded of persons found under the ruins. The injured are currently undergoing intensive treatment at the Lahai healthcare centre. However, this healthcare centre is already saturated, thereby posing a threat as regards sanitary conditions.
• All open wells have been engulfed by the floods. Only a few boreholes were spared but their water-table stands at a high inundation risk. Moreover, the external structure of some wells is being eroded due to the flooding.
• Many tangible properties were either trapped beneath the rubble or carried away. Poultry and livestock were lost, and farms were engulfed by the waters. This represents a key loss for the main livelihood source of the inhabitants.