A new IDRC-funded project aims to reduce flood-related damages for people living in the suburbs of Dakar, Senegal.
Property losses, public health and safety risks
Floods used to be exceptional in this region, which endured a long period of drought from the 1970s to 1990s. But since the early 2000s, annual floods during the rainy season have been affecting residents of this low-lying coastal city and its populous suburbs. The heavy rains that paralyze the city cause major property losses and pose serious health and safety risks. In 2012, Dakar experienced the worst flooding yet, when over 120 millimetres of rain fell within two hours on August 26.
Climate change projections warn that such extreme weather events are expected to increase. In the Dakar area, the population at risk of being affected by flooding is also growing as a result of rapid urbanization and unplanned development of coastal flood plains.
Research to help flood-affected community
The research, led by the African Institute for Urban Management (IAGU), was formally launched in September 2012 at a community centre in the district of Yeumbeul Nord. IAGU Director Oumar Cissé emphasized his team’s commitment to actively engage with the community to better understand vulnerability in Yeumbeul Nord and to identify the resources people draw on to cope and recover from flooding. The project will also pilot low-cost modifications to community buildings which may reduce damages caused by flooding. Lessons learned are expected to be applicable in other nearby districts as well.
District mayor Mamadou Lamine Diédhiou recognized the relevance of this project to the community, which was directly affected by the August 26, 2012 flooding and required significant recovery efforts. Following the launch ceremony, he led participants to nearby sites to see the flood damage first-hand. Mayor Diédhiou engaged with local residents and visitors alike to discuss the measures taken since the heavy rains wreaked havoc in Yeumbeul Nord.
For more information about this project, supported through IDRC’s Climate Change and Water program, visit the IAGU website.
Photo: IDRC/ H. Braun
IAGU Director Oumar Cissé is interviewed by reporters following the launch of a new IDRC-funded project on flooding in the suburbs of Dakar, September 19, 2012.