Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 July 2014, 15:15 GMT

Over 400,000 displaced by floods sweeping across West Africa

Publisher Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC)
Publication Date 5 September 2012
Cite as Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC), Over 400,000 displaced by floods sweeping across West Africa, 5 September 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/504db10d1.html [accessed 31 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Torrential rains have struck several West African countries during the past few weeks resulting in mass displacements throughout the region. Following a severe drought, the August floods have exacerbated an ongoing regional food security crisis.

In Niger, the government reports that 52 people were killed and nearly 400,000 displaced after heavy rains affected all seven regions of the country in what some have called the worst flooding in a century. In Niger's capital, Niamey, floodwaters washed away mud-brick homes, and destroyed vital food crops. In Senegal, Dakar and other cities were hit mid-August by floods which have caused the death of 13 people and reportedly displaced thousands.

In neighbouring Mali, heavy rains in Ségou and Kayes regions affected close to 12,000 people. For Malian IDPs and refugees caught up in conflict , the rains have added to a complex emergency situation.

One third of Nigeria's 36 states are expected to be affected by floods and landslides this rainy season, according to Nigeria's disaster management agency. At least 10 people were killed and 20,000 displaced in eastern Nigeria following heavy rains and the release of a dam in neighbouring Cameroon. Another 3,000 were displaced in Nigeria's Taraba state, where several villages wereswept away. Attributed to ineffective drainage systems, the floods have killed livestock and caused many homes to collapse in Nigeria's worst-affected states of Yobe, Kebbi, Bauchi and Jigawa. In Plateau state, the rain has washed away roads and bridges, hampering rescue efforts.

The flooding has also increased the risk of water-borne diseases. In Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Niger, the flooding has exacerbated a cholera epidemic which has already claimed the lives of several dozen people.

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