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A Personal Account: Flood in Burkina Faso by City Tech Blogger Abdoulaye Drabo

During the past decade, Burkina Faso has been experiencing flooding all over the country.  Burkina Faso is landlocked country located in West Africa. It has a fast-growing population that is estimated at 18.65 million. In 2015, Burkina Faso experienced a flood that affected nearly 20,000 people. The flood was due to heavy rain in and around the capital, Ouagadougou. The flood led to the destruction of  more than 64 tons of harvested cereals and livestock, local officials stated. The flood made thousands of people homeless in the capital. And further west, away from the capital, several houses remained under water. Many families lost their reserves of food and were under the threat of famine. Because of the flood, there was an increase need of shelter, food, medication, and potable water for the local population that had lost almost everything, said Aboubacar Mlougou, the representative of the National Council for Emergency Aid and Rehabilitation (CONASUR). As he mentioned, if nothing was done to come to the aid of the population, their only option would have been to sell items spared by the flood. In addition, this  disaster had the consequence to raise malaria and other diseases.

I experienced such a flood in 2009, and I can assure you it was very disastrous for my family. I woke up in the morning and found my room wet, because of the rain overnight. Unlike in developed countries, where there is a flood warning system, Burkina Faso does not have such a sophisticated warning system. All my electronics devices such as cell phones, television, radio, etc. were in water. It took us three days to dry the whole house, throw away the destroyed items, and save what could be saved. Usually in Burkina Faso, we store our provisions in the house and in times of a flood, most of these provisions are destroyed. For many reasons, recovering from a flood event is very expensive in Burkina Faso. One reason is that people are not warned about floods, so there is no preparation to save and isolate some items and equipment from the water.



For the 2015 flood, the government estimated that it will need about 18 billion CFA ($30 million) to meet the needs of more than 122,000 people affected by heavy rains, including 36,000 without homes. This money will mainly be used to distribute tones of cereals, tents, blankets, and cooking items in the 13 regions of Burkina Faso. Also a part of emergency response, the Red Cross deployed teams of people with adequate training in each of the 45 provinces of the country. Moreover, the local population less affected by the flood, offered their help to their neighbors, by offering help to the mayors of different districts to come to the rescue of their brothers.

In general, climate change is very harmful to  affected countries, however its especially disastrous to developing countries due to the rarity of resources and technology in those countries.



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