2009 West Africa floods

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2009 West Africa floods
Date June–September 2009
Location Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone
Deaths at least 193 deaths[1]
Property damage at least $152 million

The 2009 West Africa floods are a natural disaster that began in June 2009 as a consequence of exceptionally heavy seasonal rainfall in large areas of West Africa. [1][2] Several rivers, including the Pendjari, Niger, Volta and Senegal rivers, broke their banks, causing destruction of houses, bridges, roads and crops.[2] The floods are reported to have affected 940,000 people[1] across 12 countries, including Burkina Faso, Benin, Ghana,[3] Niger,[4] Senegal,[5][6] Guinea, and caused the deaths of at least 193 people.[7][7][8] In Burkina Faso, one of the most affected countries, 150,000 people fled their homes, mostly in the capital Ouagadougou where rainfall in one day was equal to 25% of normal annual rainfall for the whole country.[7][8][9]

Seasonal rainfall[edit]

Countries in West Africa and the southern Sahel get most of their annual rainfall during the boreal summer months from June to September.[10] This rainy season, also known as the West African monsoon, is associated with a seasonal reversal of prevailing winds in the lower atmosphere, where moist air is blown in from the Atlantic Ocean and released over the continent.[10]

The exceptionally heavy rainfall experienced in West Africa during the 2009 monsoon season is associated with the periodic warming of the Pacific Ocean, a phenomenon known as El Niño, which affects weather worldwide.[11]

Damages and victims[edit]


220,000 people[1] have been affected, mostly in coastal areas, and 7 people are reported to have died.[2]

Burkina Faso[edit]

150,000 persons displaced and 8 were killed following the heaviest rainfall seen in the country's capital Ouagadougou in 90 years. An estimated 110,000 people were displaced after a dam break of the Loumbila reservoir located in the center of Ouagadougou.[1][2]

In the south of the country, the Bagré dam had to open its main gate as water reached maximum safety levels on 4 September. The resulting increase in water flow is threatening large areas along the shores of the Volta river in southern Burkina Faso and northern Ghana.[3]


In Gambia 15,617 people were affected by floods.[1]


139,790 have been affected, and at least 24 killed.[1][2]


40,000 people have been affected in the capital Conakry and the towns of Kindia and Siguiri.[1][2]

Ivory Coast[edit]

Torrential rains, causing mudslides and floods, killed at least 19 people in the capital Abidjan and affected around 2000 people.[1][2]


In Liberia 584 people were affected by floods, leaving 2 deaths.[1]


In Mali 18,902 people were affected by the floods.[1]


3,000 persons were left homeless due to floods in the city of Rosso, located on the banks of the Senegal river.[2] An estimated total of 9000 people were affected in the country.[1]


Flash floods, following 4 days of intense rainfall in Niger’s northern Aïr Mountains affected 3,500 homes in Agadez and surrounding areas, causing 2 deaths, and losses in livestock and crops.[2][4] The total number of affected people has mounted to 79,129 and 3 deaths.[1]


30,000 households have been affected by floods in the capital Dakar and other parts of the country, with an estimated 264,000 affected and 6 deaths.[1][2]

Sierra Leone[edit]

Floods caused by two weeks of heavy rainfall in August, left 15 deaths and 425 displaced in Freetown. Crops were washed away in six villages in the Kambia District.[2] The total number of affected people in the country is reported to be 1,455 with 103 deaths.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o OCHA (28 September 2009). "West Africa - Flood Affected Population - June to September 2009 (as of 24 Sep 2009)". Retrieved 14 October 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Fominyen, George (4 September 2009). "West Africa's seasonal floods in 2009". ReliefWeb. Archived from the original on 8 September 2009. Retrieved 6 September 2009. 
  3. ^ a b IRIN (4 September 2009). "BURKINA FASO-GHANA: One country's dam, another's flood". Archived from the original on 29 September 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2009. 
  4. ^ a b IRIN (3 September 2009). "NIGER: Desert flooding wipes out electricity, homes, livestock". Archived from the original on 29 September 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2009. 
  5. ^ Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (24 August 2009). "Green Flood Alert in Senegal". GDACS. Archived from the original on 8 September 2009. Retrieved 6 September 2009. 
  6. ^ IRIN (31 August 2009). "WEST AFRICA: Seasonal rains, seasonal misery". Archived from the original on 29 September 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c "Floods across Western Sahel (as of 08 Sep 2009)". ReliefWeb. 8 September 2009. Retrieved 9 September 2009. 
  8. ^ a b BBC News (5 September 2009). "UN warns on West Africa floods". Archived from the original on 5 September 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2009. 
  9. ^ Schlein, Lisa (5 September 2009). "West Africa Hit by Devastating Floods". Voice of America. Archived from the original on 6 September 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2009. 
  10. ^ a b African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analyses (AMMA). "Characteristics of the West African Monsoon". AMMA. Archived from the original on 12 July 2007. Retrieved 15 October 2009. 
  11. ^ African Center of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD) (August 2009). "Outlook" (PDF). Climate Watch Africa Bulletin. ACMAD (08). Retrieved 15 October 2009. 

Coordinates: 12°21′N 1°32′W / 12.350°N 1.533°W / 12.350; -1.533