Niger activates its Early Action Protocol for Floods
On 31 August 2022, the Niger Red Cross Society activated its Early Action Protocol (EAP) for Floods. This will release 250,000 Swiss francs (256,150 US dollars / 255,437 euros) from the anticipatory action pillar of the IFRC’s Disaster Response Emergency Fund. The funds will be used to implement a series of actions ahead of a flood that is forecast to hit Niamey, the capital city, on 5 September.
After a period of above-average rainfall, the water level in the Niger River at Niamey rose significantly and on 31 August it was at the level of ‘orange alert’ (580-619cm) of the Niger Basin Authority’s flood prediction model - and continuing to rise. This alert level is the trigger outlined in the EAP for Floods, which was therefore activated.
The Niger Red Cross Society will implement a series of early actions in anticipation of this hazard. As set out in the EAP, these focus largely on water, sanitation and health (WASH). These will be conducted during the four days’ lead time before the forecast flood and include:
- raising awareness of waterborne diseases, such as cholera
- distribution of water purification materials and mosquito nets
- identification and registration of relocation sites
- setting up emergency shelters
- evacuating the areas forecast to be affected, moving people to safer sites
- monitoring, technical support and follow up by the IFRC country office.
These actions will assist 3,000 households predicted to be affected by the flooding, helping people to avoid the worst impacts of the flood. They are also essential: already in 2022, the heavy rains that have fallen since June are reported to have killed 24 people and affected 50,000 others.
This is the second year in succession that Niger has experienced flooding. In 2021, the rainy season caused floods and landslides, leading to loss of life, widespread damage to property and a cholera outbreak. Six people died in Niamey on 10-11 August 2021 after heavy rainfall, but the EAP was not activated as readiness activities and the pre-positioning of stock had not been completed. By acting early in 2022, the aim is to minimize the impacts of this year’s floods.
Photo © Oxfam International, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
This article was updated on 6 September to clarify why the EAP was not activated in 2021.