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Overflow on Niger Basin Authority'a Technical Directorate and its surroundings
Friday, 28 August 2020 11:19

On Sunday 23rd August 2020, the Niger River rose out of its main bed and invaded the Technical Directorate of the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) and its surroundings. The riverside population is completely in the water and does not know who to turn to. Also, several material damages have been noticed: houses and training centres completely in flooded, the Niger rice husking factory submerged, rice fields immersed, household effects destroyed, etc.
Indeed, ten days ago, the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) gave the red alert (www.sath.abn.ne) that the water level would be very high, with even high risks of flooding. The water level started to rise since 11th August 2020, going from 605 cm to 629 cm on 12th August 2020. This upward trend continued rapidly and reached the level 660 cm on Sunday 23rd August 2020, thus exceeding the 620 cm red alert level in Niamey. The heavy rains recorded between 18th and 24th August, 2020 in Niamey and Tillaberi regions and in the Burkina part of the Niger Basin accentuated the rapid rise in the water levels in Niamey, going from 660 cm to 675 cm on 25th August 2020. This recorded 675 cm water level, never observed before, is 55 cm higher than the 620 cm red alert threshold, which led to the river’s overflow into flood-prone areas by submerging the protection dyke downstream of the Kennedy Bridge.
It should be noted that the failure to continue the reinforcement of the dyke protecting the Niger River’s right bank beyond the old Kennedy Bridge, further downstream, probably favoured the submersion of the dyke on that part, thus causing the flooding of the AGRHYMET Regional Centre and the NBA Technical Directorate, as well as the road passing in front of the Technical Directorate. In addition, the river bed was filled in or silted up, which is an aggravating factor for the floods. Also, actions by riparian populations, which block the natural ways of the river’s water, have certainly helped in accentuating this flooding situation in the area.
Within the framework of the Niger River’s hydrological monitoring, the National Directorate of Hydrology of the Republic of Niger, together with the team of the Niger Basin Observatory, conducted two gauging sessions during the month of August 2020 for the verification and validation of the rating curve in effect at the Niamey station. Thus, on Tuesday 25th August, 2020, the flow rate was 2,420 m3/s and the level was 669 cm. This 2420 m3/s flood wave will propagate downstream of Niamey to reach the localities of Say, Tamou and Gaya in Niger, Alibori and Malanville in Benin, and Jiderebode and Kainji in Nigeria.
Faced with this observed critical situation, the competent national authorities must intensify the sensitization of downstream riparian populations in order for them to take the necessary measures for evacuating the area.