As of 23 October, flooding has affected 2.2 million people in West and Central Africa, with many regions recording excess rainfalls. The impact in 2020 is particularly severe, and the number of people affected already is double last year’s, when floods affected 1.1 million people in 11 countries. While seasonal rains have gradually subsided in parts of West Africa, notably the Sahel, recent flooding has occurred in Nigeria, Togo and the Central African Republic, and rains will continue to affect coastal countries and Central Africa.
Resulting destruction of houses, goods, crops and fields, and land degradation are threatening the livelihoods of communities whose majority rely on agriculture. The impact of additional shocks of extreme weather events pushes vulnerable families deep into crisis. Many of the affected regions are already struggling with insecurity, high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition, and climate change. Floods also risk increasing the incidence of water-borne diseases, impact hygiene and sanitation, and reduce the capacity to put in place effective preventative measures against COVID-19.
National and local authorities are leading the response, including Civil Protection and Disaster Management Agencies, national Red Cross societies and NGOs, as well as community-based organisations. The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated US$5 million to Niger, and ECHO supports the flood response in 8 countries in the region with a total amount of $2.7 million. Humanitarian teams respond to the acute needs of the most vulnerable and displaced people, and help communities to bounce back faster.