Long-term heavy rainfall combined with water releases from the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso, have caused severe flooding in northern Ghana over the past few weeks.
Ghana’s National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) said that at least 34 people have died. The country’s northern regions – Upper West, Upper East and Northern – have all been affected. Local media reported that as many as 100,000 people have been displaced.
Much of the flooding is a result of the overflowing White Volta river. Releases from the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso over the last few weeks have increased levels of the river in northern Ghana. SONABEL, the power utility in Burkina Faso with responsibility for the Bagre Dam, started releases in late August after heavy rainfall in catchment areas had increased dam levels.
Ghana’s NADMO said that water in the dam rose by about 80 percent in the month of August 2018, as compared to a 50 percent rise in August 2017. In late August the Volta River Authority (VRA) warned communities along the White Volta river to prepare for flooding and take necessary precautions.
By early September the rate of water release had increased and the flood situation had worsened. Local media reported at least 7 dead and 100,000 displaced. Since then the death toll has increased significantly and flooding has caused widespread damage to farmland, roads and infrastructure including bridges, leaving many communities cut off.
Elsewhere in Western Africa, long-term heavy rain in catchments has increased levels of the Niger and Benue rivers in Nigeria over the last few weeks, prompting a state of emergency in Niger, Kogi, Anambra and Delta states.