CLAUDIA SOTO OROZCOCÉCILE ARNAUD LORILLOU|16 MAY 2022
Niger is considered the second most vulnerable country in the world to the growing risks of climate change, such as floods, droughts and extreme heat events. according to ND-GAIN country index. The frequency and severity of extreme rainfall events and floods have increased significantly in recent years. In the Niger River basin alone, where 40% of Niger’s population live and where the capital Niamey is located, an average of 100,000 people are affected by floods each year. Urbanization is expected to increase flood risk due to rapid and unplanned expansion of exposed areas, watershed degradation and infrastructure vulnerability. It is estimated that the total number of people residing in urban areas will increase from the current 3.5 million to almost 20 million by 2050, an average of around 500,000 new inhabitants per year.
In this context, the worst flooding ever experienced by Niger in 2020 will probably not be the last. Large-scale flooding and localized flash floods have claimed dozens of lives and affected more than 630,000 people in all parts of the country. The total estimated damage and loss from the 2020 floods reached nearly $262 million, or more than 2% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019, according to the government’s damage and loss assessment. prepared with technical assistance from the World Bank and the Global Fund for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). The crisis has tested the Niger government’s efforts over the past decade to build the country’s resilience to floods.
The World Bank has been supporting Niger’s resilience building efforts through the Disaster Risk Management and Urban Development Project (PGRC-DU) since 2013.
This project includes a combination of improved planning capacities for drainage and urban development, flood protection infrastructure, sustainable land and water management practices in upstream watersheds, and capacity development in early warning, preparedness and response for local and central governments. The Climate Risk and Early Warning System (CREWS) initiative, co-led by the World Bank and the World Meteorological Organization, has also supported the strengthening of early warning systems in the country.
This pre-emergency preparedness support proved essential in managing the 2020 flood crisis. emergency response and crisis communication activities across the country during the crisis. Using data from COVACC, which is equipped with advanced satellite technologies, drones deployed at the height of the disaster were able to assess the location and extent of the floods. This ensured that emergency aid reached the people and communities most in need. Niger’s new hydrological early warning system, the National Alert Code, helped provide timely information for the evacuation of vulnerable communities and the management of flood relief operations. The system also facilitated an emergency needs assessment of affected households, conducted by Niger’s civil protection agency, which then informed relief efforts.
Looking to the future and learning lessons from the devastating floods of 2020,** the Government of Niger continues its partnership with the World Bank and GFDRR to build flood resilience. the effects of high flood risk and rapid urban growth through an integrated approach that supports resilient urban development and disaster risk management.
The project aims to increase flood resilience and improve urban management and access to basic services in 25 municipalities, benefiting 3.4 million people.
- improve access to urban infrastructure and basic services, including the construction of embankments, flood barriers and drainage systems;
- provide cities with a menu of investment options to meet their respective priorities;
- and protection against floods, droughts and heat waves through resilient landscapes, nature-based solutions and increased community-level preparedness and awareness.
It will also support the development of a technical assistance program aimed at strengthening the capacity of municipalities to improve day-to-day urban management and ensure that land use planning, land use planning and investment plans at the municipal level take climate risk considerations into account. The worst floods could come, but Niger will be in better shape to deal with them.