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West African countries develop system for extreme floods and droughts

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Member States of the Volta Basin Authority, comprising six West African countries, held a meeting to develop an early warning system, in the case of extreme floods and droughts due to climate change.

During a workshop, held on Monday, 28 September and Tuesday, 29 September 2020, in Abidjan, members of the Volta Basin Authority decided to set up risk maps and an early warning system to prevent flooding and extreme droughts. The states, which share the Volta Basin, strongly feel the effects of climate change, which has led to extreme floods and droughts over the past decade, a phenomenon that is increasingly recurrent.

According to Colonel-Major Baptiste Ehoussou, the Director-General of Water Resources in Cote d’Ivoire, it will be a practical matter of “materializing the flood-prone areas in the basins, in particular, the areas exposed to water flows,” in order to identify the different risks. Countries will have to draw up a risk map that will allow the establishment of infrastructure and technological means to be able to fight effectively against rising water levels and drought.

In Cote d’Ivoire, the Volta Basin is located in the north-east of the country, which has 11 river basins, seven of which are shared with neighbouring states. Inside the Ivorian territory, there are four basins.

Albert Goula Bi Tie, Director of the Protection and Development of Water Resources in Cote d’Ivoire, said that the cities of Bondoukou and Bouna, in the regions of Gontougo (east) and Bounkani (north) respectively, will be used to implement a pilot project. These regions of Cote d’Ivoire experience flooding at certain times.

The other states of the Volta Basin Authority will also have to choose areas prone to flooding, or affected by extreme droughts, in order to put in place a comprehensive plan to be submitted to development partners.

The Deputy Executive Director of the Volta Basin Authority, Millogo Dibi pointed out that since the 1970s, the Volta Basin has been suffering from the effects of climate change. In Cote d’Ivoire, the Marahoue River burst its banks in 2019 and 2020.

The Volta Basin groups six countries, namely, Togo, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Ghana and Burkina Faso. This project should enable these states to integrate floods and droughts into the management of climate change, in order to warn their populations and secure lives and property.

-APA

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