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West Africa: Impact of the floods (22 Aug 2016)

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Most West African countries are now in the middle or second half of the rainy season. The seasonal forecast of the African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD), indicating the likelihood of above-average rains in parts of the central Sahel, has so far proven accurate. Mali, Burkina Faso and western Niger have received abundant rainfalls. The overall impact of flooding due to these rains can be described as average by annual comparison over the last 5-10 years. Western Niger so far has been most affected area. The level of some rivers is still rising and reaching emergency levels, such as Benue River in Nigeria, Gambia River, and Niger River along the Niger-Benin border.


Authorities have reported that since June heavy rain and flooding have damaged thousands of homes. At least 12 people were killed and almost 10,000 left temporarily homeless. Over 27,000 people have received support through the national relief coordination committee (CONASUR), principally in the Centre-Nord and eastern regions. A preparedness plan to cover over 50,000 people has been prepared.
The Red Cross is about to launch an emergency appeal (DREF) to cover the immediate needs of about 2,000 families affected by storms or floods.


This season’s flooding has so far caused 13 deaths and affected more than 9,500 people in the regions of Sikasso, Kolikoro, Segou, Mopti, Timbuktu, Gao, Kidal and Menaka. While these are about average seasonal figures, the spread of rains over most regions of Mali is unusual and could eventually be favourable to harvests. Authorities and humanitarian agencies have been prepositioning emergency stocks and food in anticipation of flood risks in order to cover the needs in terms of water, sanitation and non-food items of more than 30,000 people who could be affected by flooding.
The Red Cross is about to launch an appeal (DREF) to respond to the humanitarian needs of 1,800 households affected by floods in Sikasso and Ségou regions.


A total of 12,180 people have so far been directly affected by floods in Senegal. The Kaffrine area on 24 July received an unprecedented amount of over 175 mm of rainfall in less than a day. According to local authorities, 10,313 people were directly affected by the floods inundating their fields and sweeping away stocks of millet or other crops. Kaolack and Saint Louis also saw localised flooding earlier in July.


The Government on 12 August reported that heavy rains, especially in arid desert regions, have killed 14 people and left more than 46,000 homeless. According to OCHA 1,693 homes have been damaged by floods in the country since June. The worst affected regions are the desert areas of Tahoua in the west and Agadez in the north. Local authorities recorded significant material damage and the loss of 19,536 heads of cattle (cows, goats, sheep and camel). On 2 August, the Niger Basin Authority reported that by the end of July, levels of the Gorouol River at Alcongui were the highest in over 50 years.

Local authorities and the UN have been delivering food aid for the displaced people, and non-food aid is on its way. The rains are unlikely to ease the pressure on the country's food supply given the damage the flooding has wrought on crops. In 2015, as many as 103,000 people were affected by floods in Niger.


Flooding has so far affected parts of Kano State in early August, damaging thousands of homes and leaving three people dead. Elsewhere in the country, heavy rainfalls have left the ground saturated, increasing the risk of flooding. On 8 August, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) warned of potential flooding in 11 states (Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta,
Kaduna, Kwara, Nasarawa, Yobe and Zamfara) between August and October. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is working with technical partners to update and harmonize their response plans and mapping of current capacity.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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