In 2021, flooding affected 1.4 million people in 15 countries in West and Central Africa. Heavy rains and floods continued to take a significant toll on human life, property, land, and livestock, killing 305 people, injuring 2,563, and displacing about 378,000 in 12 countries. While in 2020, flooding affected 2.7 million people in 18 countries in West and Central Africa, with many regions recording excess rainfalls, floods in 2021 exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities and needs. In 2021, seasonal rains and floods subsided in some parts of the region, but continued to severely impact Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Niger, etc. Some 154,000 houses were destroyed in 11 countries. 98,000 hectares of farmland were affected by floods, which resulted in the destruction of crops and fields, threatening the livelihoods of communities whose majority rely on agriculture.
The impact of additional shocks of extreme weather events pushed vulnerable families deep into crisis. Many of the affected regions were already struggling with high levels of food insecurity, malnutrition, instability, and violence. Floods, impacted hygiene and sanitation, increased the incidence of water-borne diseases, and reduced the capacity to put in place effective preventive measures against COVID-19. Moreover, floods increased displacement into overcrowded settlement camps, where diseases spread easily. In Niger and Nigeria, floods were followed by a cholera outbreak in several regions leading to thousands of deaths.
National and local authorities have led the response, including Civil Protection and Disaster Management Agencies, national Red Cross societies and non-governmental organizations, as well as community-based organizations. Humanitarian agencies responded to the acute needs of the most vulnerable and displaced people and helped communities to bounce back faster.