International Charter activated for floods in three Western African countries

Satellite-detected flood water map for Senegal from a 2007 Charter activation
Credit: ESA 2006, 2007; credit NASA 2007 Image processing, map created 21/09/2007 by UNOSAT.

The International Charter: Space and Major Disasters has been activated three times in the past two days to provide satellite imagery and maps regarding floods in Niger, Senegal and Nigeria. West African nations experience torrential rains during their annual rain season, but this season has been reported as the worst in 50 years.

In Niger, the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Civile et de la Gestion des Crises (COGIC) activated the Charter on 28 August after heavy flooding over the last few weeks caused by a severe rain season and the River Niger bursting its banks. It left 65 dead and over 100,000 homeless. The capital city of Niamey was struck by the flood waters from the River Niger, and Agadez City in the centre of Niger has also been affected. The Dosso region has suffered the worst effects of the floods, however, with an estimated ten thousand homes destroyed. Relief and international aid is being provided to help with the recovery.

In Senegal, the Charter was activated for the second time within just a couple of days for severe floods. The activation on 28 August requested by the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Civile et de la Gestion des Crises (COGIC) on behalf of Senegal Groupment National des Sapeurs Pompiers (GNSP) for the locations Dakar, Touba, Darou Mousty, Fatick, Kaolack. Major flooding has left thousands homeless and at least 13 dead in Senegal since 26 August, when the Charter was activated the first time for the cities of Dakar and Touba (Diourbel region). Exceptional rainfall has been experienced in the region this season. The Senegalese government is organising flood relief and has enacted the ORSEC plan for the severe event.

In Nigeria, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has activated the Charter on 29 August 2012. On Sunday, 25 August 2012, more than 250 villages were flooded, 18 people died and several others were trapped by the heavy flooding in Adamawa State, Nigeria. The Cameroonian officials released water from the Ladgo Dam, which flooded the neighbouring lowlands of Nigeria. The Emergency Management Agency is providing aid to victims of the flood. Food and blankets are being distributed to affected areas whilst awaiting further help from federal government.