Cameroon / Floods in Far North Region: Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation No. MDRCM029


A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Following heavy rains experienced in many localities in Cameroon, flooding has occurred with varied impacts in affected regions, which is aggravated by the impact of climate change on the seasons. The Far-North region has been drenched by heavy rains since the beginning of the rainy season in July and between 11 and 12 September 2020, intense and continuous rains poured in the Mayo-Danay (19,218 people) and in the Mayo-Kani (7,184 people) divisions with a an unprecedented level of rainfall ranging between 40mm and 85mm. According to data collected by the local Red Cross committees in the concerned divisions, more than 26,402 people have been affected.

Although the region is systematically affected by flooding every year, the 2020 floods crisis is deemed exceptional given its unprecedented geographic expansion. Indeed, during the whole month of August 2020, torrential rains fell with an important peak on 31 August 2020, causing floods and substantial damage, such as the collapse of a bridge in the city of Maroua, and affecting the Logone-and-Chari, Mayo-Sava, Mayo-Danay, and Mayo-Kani Divisions. Such a geographical extent of floods at this level is a new situation for the Far-North, especially as the season is far from over.

As a result, five divisions out of the six in the Region have suffered the devastating effects of the floods, both material (destroyed houses, devastated farms, loss of animals, destruction of road infrastructure reducing mobility and accessibility in certain disaster areas, etc.) and human (displacement of people and even entire villages, loss of human life).

The forecast and the rainy season which usually lasts until the end of October, raise fears of further loss of human life and significant deterioration of the situation. The climate forecasts of the Climatology and Data Bank Service (part of the Directorate of National Meteorology) which predicted new rainfall by the end of September proved to be correct. In recent days, the region has been hit by new rains thereby worsening the situation in the affected areas. Rainfall was between 40mm and 85mm and the forecast continues to anticipate rain in October. In addition, the maps of the geographical relief of the area which feature flood zones anticipate that the rains in the Logone-and-Chari and Diamaré divisions flow into the Mayo-Kani and Mayo-Danay valleys, which are the most at risk due to their geography. In these areas, there are also dams that are at risk of breaking under the pressure of such amount of rains.

Finally, it should be noted that the Far-North region of Cameroon is already suffering from high vulnerability due to poverty and chronic underdevelopment compounded by insecurity and the devastating effects of clashes between security forces and armed groups in the Lake Chad basin. As a result, the region is already witnessing many internal displacements of populations due to insecurity in areas sharing border with Nigeria. The very limited resources allocated to the Far-North are often directed to these areas hosting displaced persons fleeing violence, mainly in the Logone-and-Chari, Mayo-Sava and Mayo-Tsanaga divisions. The Mayo-Danay and Mayo- Kani divisions receive little support, hence the need for intervention to assist the displaced and affected populations in the wake of these floods.

Many actors have mobilized to provide support to the affected communities but a significant gap in coverage has widened and worsened with the increase in water levels. Moreover, unlike Cameroon Red Cross, very few organizations are present in the Mayo-Danay and Mayo-Kani divisions as humanitarian interventions in the Far-North are more focused on the Mayo-Sava, Mayo-Tsanaga and Logone-and-Chari divisions. Therefore, the humanitarian community and UN agencies frequently use the data and rapid assessments shared by CRC.