Senegal: Flood destroys farms, underlines need for weather alerts (Trust)

| August 22, 2016

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Heavy rainfall and flooding destroyed homes and farms in the Kaffrine Region of Senegal in late July. Residents and meteorologists are now calling for better weather warning systems.

The town of Kaffrine was hit by 175 millimetres of rain on July 24—a record for the beginning of the rainy season. Two hundred millimetres of rain fell in Kouthia Thiambene, 30 kilometres away. Nearly 100 clay huts were destroyed, along with tonnes of millet and other crops. Villagers’ seeds were swept away by flood water.

Farmers’ fields have been engulfed by sand. Alioune N’Diaye says, “The fields were inundated, producing a kind of muddy paste that stopped seeds [from] germinating. That’s weeks of work for nothing.”

Locals receive weather forecasts through the regional agricultural service, but the service is unable to predict the severity of a storm or issue nation-wide warnings.

Diabel N’Diaye is an agricultural meteorologist with the National Agency of Civil Aviation and Meteorology. He says, “We don’t yet have a system that allows us to alert the whole population, and that is perhaps the first thing we should try to address.”

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Photo credit: TRF/Momar Niang