|Over the last years the African continent has increasingly experienced severe flooding. In the Northern Hemisphere of Africa, the scale of the 2007 flood events has been the worst in extent and severity for the last three decades. More than one million people were affected in over 20 countries (in particular: Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Togo, Mali and Niger); approximately 500 lives were lost and more than 1.2 million people were displaced.
|Furthermore infrastructural facilities (roads, bridges, water pipes, dams etc.), houses and fertile soils were destroyed or even washed away (BRITISH RED CROSS, 2008; BBC NEWS, 2007).
A similar situation appeared in the Southern Hemisphere of Africa, especially in the area of Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Madagascar and South Africa; a devastating flood in the year 2000 left 1.25 million people homeless, hundreds dead and destroyed crops, livestock and major infrastructural facilities (BBC NEWS, 2000).
The Need of a Flood Forecasting System
|In African countries where the communication and transport infrastructure is (partly) limited, information such as ‘which equipment is necessary and available, where the largest problems are going to be expected, who has to be contacted and how can these people be contacted, etc.’ can be problematic and time-consuming for which reason an early flood warning is of prime importance.
||An early flood warning system could facilitate National Authorities to plan, coordinate and realize effectively prevention, protection and mitigation measures in order to reduce socio-economical damages.
The European Commission (EC) committed during the Lisbon Summit in December 2007 to support Africa’s capacity building efforts in the sustainable management of natural resources. Within the scope of this initiative the development the feasibility study of a flood alert system for Africa is fostered.
Feasibility study for early flood forecasting in African basins
The techniques, methodologies, knowledge and experiences invented i.e. gained during the development and testing of European Flood Alert System (EFAS) may adhere a potential to establish an African Flood Alert System (AFAS) to provide early flood warnings for the African continent. On request of Somalia Water and Land Management Project (SWALIM) the applicability of EFAS methodologies to African basins is being tested in a first feasibility study in the Juba-Shabelle river basin shared between Ethiopia and Somalia.
This study is conducted in close collaboration with SWALIM and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (ECWMF)
The objectives are:
- to set-up LISFLOOD for the Juba-Shabelle river basin and to conduct a number of hydrological calculations using different meteorological data sets
- evaluation of different approaches of how to derive the critical thresholds for the alert levels
- assessment on the model performance in view to a potential for AFAS
- discussion of uncertainties deriving form the input data and from the model itself
Please, fill out the questionnaire concerning current status on flood forecasting and early warning in Africa.
Contact person: Ad De Roo, Vera Thiemig
Last Updated on Thursday, 01 July 2010 08:07