Flood Co-Operation in Western Africa

Significant floods have already struck twice in Nigeria (Yobe and Kano) and once in Niger, western Africa, so far this rainy season. The region often suffers from flooding – severe flooding in recent years – during the rainy season, which begins around June and continues into September.

Nigeria in particular is concerned that the country will suffer catastrophically again in 2013, having warned that 31 of its states are under threat of flooding.

In efforts to avoid a repeat of the disasters of 2012 and 2010, Nigeria and Cameroon have been working together to cooperate on building new flood-control structures, sharing weather information and relocating people from flood-prone areas. The two countries recently announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on flood issues and take measures to “forestall the flood calamities that occurred last year”.

The new agreement will include:

  • more water monitoring and control structures on the tributaries of the Benue
  • exchange of hydro-meteorological and environmental data.
  • joint technical site visits, studies and research
  • set up an early warning and response mechanism

It is also hoped that the new understanding between Nigeria and Cameroon will help reduce tensions between the countries when or should severe floods strike. In 2012, for example, Cameroon was blamed for exacerbating the floods in Nigeria after it’s decision to release water from the Lagdo Dam. This story is remarkably similar to events currently taking place in India and Pakistan, and indeed earlier this year after Nepal blamed India for floods in Nepal’s Darchula District after India released water from the Dhauliganga Dam reservoir.

Flood Warning and Prevention Improvements
With equipment donated by Japan, Cameroon is re-equipping the over 300 meteorological centres throughout the country to facilitate the recording of quality meteorological data which is needed to prevent flood disasters. Embankments, dams and irrigation systems have been improved in areas of north Cameroon, thanks to a loan from the World Bank.

Sources: Trust