Africa: Ghana Floods, Kenya Floods and Africa Hazards Outlook

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[Ghana]

* Ghana: Floods - Apr 2013 [ReliefWeb; 18 April 2013]

Overview:

Severe rainstorms in Ghana's Northern and Volta regions started in the first week of March 2013 and continued for close to two weeks. The ensuing floods resulted in the displacement of populations, loss of property and farm produce. Between 23,000 and 25,000 people have been affected. The Government declared the affected areas a disaster zone. On 8 Apr, severe rainstorms caused further flooding and the destruction of property and farmlands in Agona East district in the Central region, affecting at least 1,000 people. While the rainy season begins in March, heavy rains usually only start in May. (IFRC, 18 Apr 2013)

* Severe rain storm in Northern Ghana [ReliefWeb; 3 April 2013]

1. Brief description of the emergency and impact

A severe rainstorm in Northern Ghana in the last two weeks of March 2013, has caused destruction and displacement. The affected districts include Gushegu, Yendi Municipal, Savelugu/Nanton, Saboba, Zabzugu, Tatale/Sanguli, Tamale Metropolis, Moin, Walewale and Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo districts. In all, about 25,000 people have been affected and are currently sheltering with friends and relatives.

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[Kenya]

* Floods related incidents from March - May 2013 long rains [ReliefWeb; 10 April 2013]

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HIGHLIGHTS

• Depressed and poorly distributed rainfall is expected over most parts of the country during March-May 2013 “Long-Rains” Season. This is likely to be more pronounced in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs). 

• The western and central counties including Nairobi as well as the Coastal strip are likely to experience enhanced rainfall. 

• Most of the rainfall in the country is expected during the peak month of April except over the Coastal strip Where the peak is expected during the month of May.

• During January and February 2013, slightly cooler than average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) were present over the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean. Neutral conditions were observed over western Equatorial Indian Ocean while warmer than average SSTs prevailed over eastern Equatorial Indian Ocean

FORECAST FOR MARCH-APRIL-MAY (MAM) 2013 “LONG RAINS” SEASON

March to May is a major rainfall season in most parts of the country. Depicts the Long Term Mean rainfall patterns for March-April-May seasonal rainfall. The figure shows that the highest rainfall amounts of over 300mm are recorded over Western, Central, Coastal strip and parts of northern Kenya (Marsabit, Moyale). The forecast for March to May 2013 is based on the prevailing and expected Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies (SSTAs) over the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans as well as other Synoptic, Mesoscale and local factors that affect the climate of Kenya. These factors were assessed using various tools including ocean-atmosphere models, statistical models, satellite derived information and expert interpretation. The prevailing slightly cool Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) in the western Equatorial Indian Ocean (adjacent to the East African Coast) coupled with very warmSSTs in the eastern Equatorial Indian Ocean (adjacent to Australia) were also considered. This constitutes a negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) that is not favorable for good seasonal rainfall over most parts of the country and more so the eastern sector.The predicted Onsets, Cessation and distribution of rainfall were derived from statistical analysis of past years, which exhibited similar characteristics to the current year (i.e. analogue year). For the current season, the analogue years were found to be 2001 and 1973

* Kenya: Flash Flooding Update (19th March to 11 April 2013)

At least 35 people have died and 20,000 people displaced from their homes as a result of recent flash flooding across Kenya. The most affected areas are in the western and coastal regions where a combination of heavy rains and inadequate flood mitigation measures have destroyed homes, roads, and educational facilities. The Kenya Red Cross Society and other humanitarian organisations have been responding in the affected areas.

* Kenya floods claims 63 lives in past month: government [ReliefWeb; 18 April 2013]

NAIROBI, April 18, 2013 (AFP) - Flooding in Kenya after heavy seasonal rains has claimed 63 lives and forced tens of thousands from their homes in the past month, Vice-President William Ruto said Thursday.

"As at now, 63 people have been killed," Ruto told reporters, watching as five tonnes of food and other essential items were prepared to be flown to affected areas at a military airbase in the capital Nairobi.

"The government has directed the military to urgently evacuate people marooned by floods," he added, noting that the northeastern regions of Merti and Garbatulla were particularly badly affected.

Dozens of people die every year during Kenya's rainy season, which usually lasts from March to May.

Kenya's army said it had flown aid deliveries to the central town of Isiolo and despatched helicopters to drop food in northeastern areas where the flooding has made roads impassable.

Areas across Kenya have been affected as the heavy rains have damaged roads and property.

On Wednesday, two children were killed by a landslide caused by the rains in Kenya's Rift Valley, while helicopters were used to rescue more than 40 people marooned by floods in the eastern Garissa region.

Eight passengers were swept away as they travelled on a truck to the northern town of Marsabit earlier this month.

"The government will mobilise all the available resources to assist the affected persons," Ruto added.

Parts of Kenya suffered from extreme drought in 2011 -- like the wider Horn of Africa region, including parts of war-torn southern Somalia where famine was declared -- and farmers are welcoming the heavy rains.

However, traders are also struggling because of the impassable roads.

"All my goods will go to waste," said truck driver Sokotei Balesa, stuck in Isiolo with a load of vegetables. "I am trying to find a trader to buy them."

Parts of southern Somalia have also been affected, with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warning that floods have hampered aid deliveries.

Several thousand people have been forced from their homes in areas along southern Somalia's Shabelle river, with five children reportedly killed in recent weeks, the United Nations added.

However, the heavy rains could also "bode well for the harvest", OCHA noted.

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Climate Prediction Center’s Africa Hazards Outlook For USAID / FEWS-NET, April 18 – April 24, 2013 [ReliefWeb; 17 April 2013]

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1) Severe Drought: Since the beginning of the year, poorly distributed and significantly below average seasonal rainfall has led to deteriorating ground conditions, stressed vegetation and negatively impacted cropping activities and livestock throughout many parts of southwestern Africa. Many local areas in Angola and Namibia have experienced less than half of their normal rainfall accumulation since January.

2) Drought: Since the beginning of February, pronounced dry spells and poorly distributed seasonal rainfall have affected parts of the Caprivi Strip region, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. With no opportunity for recovery as the southern Africa monsoon is ending, this is expected to negatively impact cropping activities across the region.

3) Drought: After above-average precipitation was received in January, seasonal rainfall has ceased since mid-February leading to significant ground moisture deficits in northern Mozambique.

4) Abnormal Dryness: Since the beginning of March, enhanced rainfall in the Greater Horn has not been distributed over the northern and western portions of Ethiopia. As a result, early to mid-season moisture deficits are developing and are likely to negatively impact cropping activities throughout the “Belg” producing areas of the country.

5) Flooding: Several consecutive weeks of significantly enhanced precipitation has led to localized floods, inundation along the Tana River, thousands of displaced people, and fatalities throughout many local areas of Kenya. Heavy rains have also led to floods, landslides, damage to infrastructure, and crop losses across parts of Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. The potential for locally torrential rainfall across Kenya and northwestern Tanzania is expected to further saturate ground conditions and possibly lead to additional flooding during the upcoming outlook period.

6) Flooding: Significantly heavy rainfall during the last two weeks has led to flooding, damaged crops, and the displacement of thousands of people along the Shabelle River. A slight reduction of rains is expected with average to locally above average rainfall forecast over eastern Ethiopia and southern Somalia during the next seven days.


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