Mauritania/Bassiknou: Floods Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation MDRMR012

Situation Report
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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Since September 1, 2020, the wilaya of Hodh Ech Chargui, located in the south-east of the country, on the border with Mali, has experienced torrential rains that have exceeded the 100 mm in some areas, with flooding in the cities of Bassiknou, Adel Bagrou, Amourj and Néma, the capital of the region in south-eastern Mauritania.
Until September 8, 2020, the torrential rains that fell in this area caused a heavy toll in the three departments of the region, in particular in the department of Bassiknou leading, on a large scale, to considerable material damage of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, protective dikes, markets, water supply sources, in addition to the destruction of a large part of family food stocks. According to preliminary assessments, the number of people affected to date are up to 9,282 people (1,380 households) and 3 deaths.

Since the end of August, Mauritania has been experiencing heavy rains which have resulted in flooding in several parts of the country.

The Governor of Hodh Ech Chargui, accompanied by the food security Commissioner, carried out a mission in the floods affected areas on September 5. The President of the Republic carried a mission by helicopter because of the impassable roads on 10 and 11 September to inquire about the state of the floods affected people, sympathize with the affected families and ensure the progress of the work that has been carried out on several sites to dig rainwater drainage channels and repair the collapsed dams.

In the town of Bassiknou, most residential areas have been severely affected by the flooding, and the damage varies in intensity from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. A damage assessment commission, of which the Mauritanian Red Crescent (MRC) is a member, has been set up by the authorities. This commission began the census of affected households despite the difficult access to the affected areas. According to the partial results, 1,200 families have already been recorded in the Bassiknou department alone, in addition to the other departments in the region which are affected by the floods. The work of the evaluation committee is still ongoing.

The commune of Dhar which falls under the department of Bassiknou and located 80 km from Bassiknou, was completely affected; there are more than 118 households who have lost their homes and are currently being taken in by their relatives. On the other hand, 17 food stores were destroyed, and livestock was washed away.
In Bassiknou, some schools having been partially damaged by the rains, the resumption of classes scheduled for September 1, 2020 throughout the national territory has been delayed. Faced with this disastrous situation, several attempts by the authorities to gain access to the floods affected people in Bassiknou were unsuccessful: only the prefect of the Bassiknou department, who is on site with his staff, was able to access some neighbourhoods in the flooded areas.

In the two other departments of Néma and d'Amourj, and in the district of Adel Bagrou, there has been material damage and more than 184 families affected in Adel Bagrou. Some 64 families have been affected in Amourj, living in precarious conditions.

We recall that the National Meteorological Office has already warned the population, in particular in the south-eastern regions of Mauritania, the Hodh Echargui region, of the possibility of heavy rains in the coming weeks, reminding the population to take utmost caution and strictly observe the safety instructions relating to this type of disaster to reduce the probable risks.

That there has been no rain since Septembe10 however, alerts continue to be issued by the weather services. On 14 September, the Ministry of Interior warned of the risk of landslides in the affected areas, but also of the rising waters of Senegal River which could worsen the situation in the event of an overflow. However, normally, from mid-September onwards, the rains move towards the centre and north of the country, but with the disruptions noted, nothing is certain at the moment given the forecasts.