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West Africa Seasonal Monitor (20-31 August 2020)

Situation Report
Originally published
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• Early June to date (end of August) above average rainfall spread over much of West Africa while dry conditions remained across the southern coastal areas of the region leading abnormally dryness. The Sahel region has benefited from more favourable conditions since late July and in far western areas over half western Mauritania remain dryness since mid-august and some pockets over northern, central and eastern Senegal. Heavy rainfall during July-August resulted in flooding in the Niger River Basin throughout Niger, Mali, Nigeria, southern Chad, and Cameroon. Localized production shortfalls may occur in areas bordering the Niger valley due to flooding, and flood risk remains high as above-average rainfall is forecast to continue in these areas through September. In southern Chad 3,286 households have been displaced from 11 villages, 15,000 hectares of crop land have been destroyed and 3 people died including a child due to illnesses.

• Noticeable vegetation improvement is observed over the whole Sahel. As a result of the continued widespread wetter than average conditions across the region since late July, markedly above average vegetation cover extends over much of the Sahel over South-eastern Mauritania, across Mali, North-eastern Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad and Far NE Nigeria. Meanwhile it can be observed low vegetation recovery from some pockets over far western of the region (over south western Mauritania and Northern Senegal) due to recent low seasonal rainfall. Water resources have been maintained at good level throughout the West African region due to ongoing favourable conditions.

• According to short-term forecasts, into a one-month rainfall analysis - It is unlikely that a improvement in the situation will occur over southern coastal areas of the region - rainfall deficits are expected to persist in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Southern (Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Benin, Togo and Nigeria).

• According to PRESASS seasonal forecasts update in July, above average rainfall is expected in Sahelian countries for the period July-August-September while rainfall amounts will be concentrated in the mid - season between mid-July and August. It emerges, the dry spells should be longer to normal over most Sudan-Sahelian belt in the second half of the season, including the heading, flowering and the crops ripening phases with high probabilities of late to normal end of season in agricultural areas of Sahelian countries except far northern Senegal, western Mali and the agricultural areas of Mauritania.

• However, ECMWF forecasts (for September–November 2020) indicate average to mostly near average condition in Sahel except Central Mali, Northern and SE Senegal, half western Mauritania and Burkina Faso. In the rest of the region, across the southern regions conditions will likely be below average to mostly near average except most of CAR, Southern Ghana and half northern Nigeria where average condition rainfall is expected. The two sets of forecasts are not currently consistent, with ECMWF being more pessimistic