West and Central Africa: 2017 flood impact (as of 18 Oct 2017)
The West and Central Africa region has experienced severe flooding in the 2017 rainy season, causing significant material and human casualties. A combination of swollen rivers and high impact incidents has led to destruction of infrastructure and agricultural assets, population displacement, and complications for access and relief assistance. Rainfall forecasts through December indicate near to above the seasonal average in extreme eastern Congo and west of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and very likely above-average rainfall over most of the Cameroonian and Equatorial-Guinean coasts, north-eastern DRC, and the extreme south-east of Central African Republic (CAR). High impact flood incidents are profiled below.
As of 5 October, the Government of Niger estimated that 206,513 people had been affected by flooding in the country, including 56 deaths. Approximately 12,000 houses have been damaged, 16,000 heads of cattle perished and 9,800 hectares of cultivated land lost. With strong support of humanitarian partners, the Government distributed 332,350 tons of cereals and about 2,000 shelters to affected people country-wide.
Weeks of torrential rainfall led to flash floods, discharges and river overflowing in Benue State, north-central Nigeria, affecting more than 100,000 people across 21 local government areas in the state. The Nigerian Red Cross provided immediate response of food and non-food items.
A displacement site which was set up by the State Government and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) was closed on 9 October and flood victims provided with transport fare to return home.
12 of 13 regions and 30,862 people in Burkina Faso have been impacted by flooding and violent winds, according to the national disaster management agency SP/CONASUR.
Severely affected provinces included Gnagna (7,527 people affected) Gourma (4,508), Bam (3,896) and Namentenga (3,401). As of 16 October, 12 fatalities were reported, as well as substantial material damage including the loss of 214 tons of food and destruction of 5,256 houses. Affected people, in particularly the displaced, have received emergency assistance in the form of food and non-food supplies through local structures of SP/CONASUR.
On 21 August overnight torrential rain caused a hillside rubbish dump to collapse in Conakry, killing 10. The country was also impacted by flooding in the Prefecture of Nzerekore, following heavy rainfall on 4 July (IFRC). Joint Red Cross / Government assessments indicated that 3,274 people were affected, in areas that had suffered previously from the Ebola crisis.
More than 11,000 people have been affected by floods since the beginning of the rainy season in June, primarily in the north. As of 27 September, 3 deaths have been reported (Segou region), more than 1,200 houses destroyed and over 500 damaged. Pastoral communities have been particularly affected, with 26,000 animals lost—an extreme increase from 1,352 in 2016. The Timbuktu region has suffered the greatest impact, with two thirds of the overall number of affected people and almost all of the lost animals.
On 14 August, the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain collapsed after weeks of heavy rain, triggering catastrophic landslides and floods in and around Freetown. Over 6,000 people were directly affected and about 600 deaths reported. A UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team was deployed by OCHA from 18 August – 7 September. By 5 September, distributions of food and non-food items reportedly reached over 85 per cent of affected people. The UN system in Sierra Leone continues to support national recovery.
Flooding in Ghana's northern region displaced an estimated 11,800 people and caused 7 deaths, as of 24 August. 147 communities in 11 districts were affected. The National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) has distributed relief items such as mattresses, blankets, portable water and bags of rice. Earlier in the season, on 10 July, the following regions were declared flood emergencies and/or under threat of floods with potential to cause devastation: Greater Accra, Central Western and Eastern (IFRC).
Central African Republic
The town of Kouango, in the prefecture of Ouaka, last registered with floods in 2007, recorded some 1,750 affected people and at least 276 houses destroyed, as of 16 September (IFRC). Mobilization is underway, including a DREF request by the CAR Red Cross. Prolonged rainfall in the post-conflict area risks threatening food and agriculture and increasing vulnerability to conflict. Torrential rains on 9-10 September resulted in severe flooding in Kabo, a town in north-central CAR, and some villages on the Farazala axis, collapsing some 800 houses. The presence of armed groups in the area is a potential risk to the vulnerable population.