Heavy rain over the last 2 days has caused flooding in the west African countries of Togo, Benin and Ghana. Parts of Côte d’Ivoire have also been affected, in particular Abidjan, which saw 76 mm of rain fall in the last 24 hours.
At least 90 people have been killed in a fuel station explosion in Accra, said to have been caused after flood waters swept stored gasoline into a nearby fire. Hundreds of people in Accra have been forced from their homes by the flooding, which has also affected power supplies.
Ghana’s Communications Ministry said in a statement: “Many suburbs of Accra and surrounding parts have been heavily affected, leading to heavy restriction of movement of people. The general public is kindly advised to avoid fast-moving rainwater and areas they know have big drains. Stay on higher ground, where necessary, to prevent loss of life.”
Axim, South Ghana, which lies about 300 km east of Accra saw 88 mm of rain fall in 24 hours to 03 June 2015.
In Togo, heavy rain from 02 June 2015 has caused flooding in southern parts of the country. Worst affected is the city of Lome, where one person has been killed and several injured after homes were damaged, ECHO report. Local media say that around 5,000 people have been displaced by the floods. Tabligbo in southern Togo saw 73 mm of rain fall in 24 hours.
In Benin, 84 mm of rain fell in Cotonou in 24 hours to 03 June 2015. Local media say that flooding has damaged several homes and blocked streets in the largest city and economic centre of Benin.
Just last week the World Bank approved a new US$40 million International Development Association (IDA) credit for Benin to improve its infrastructure and minimize the negative impacts of the 2010 floods as well as increase the level of preparedness for any future flooding.
In 2010 the heavy rains in Benin created unexpected rising water levels that overwhelmed the country’s traditional preventive response and resilience mechanisms. As a results 278 schools were flooded and more than 50,000 houses were destroyed leaving 150,000 people without shelter. The 2010 floods ruined 128,000 hectares of crops and farmland and an estimated 12,000 metric tons of food stocks were lost because of destroyed storage facilities.
A Drainage Master Plan and a Solid Waste Management (SWM) Strategy was prepared under the original project in 2014. It revealed significant clogging in numerous points in the drainage system, which, if not treated, could bring about further flooding.
“An additional 94,000 people will no longer be subjected to periodic flooding with today’s new financing that will build on the original project and help improve and expand access to reliable drainage systems in poor areas of Benin,” says Ousmane Diagana, the World Bank’s Country Director for Benin.