2022 saw the most intense rainy season in decades across West Africa and other parts of the world. While West Africa’s rainy season usually runs between May and October each year, the 2022 season began early and the rains were more intense than usual. This year, we have already observed heavy rains and flooding in places like Sierra Leone.
Climate change is causing significant changes to rainfall patterns, which, in turn, is likely to result in extreme floods. Between June and October 2022, severe flooding killed more than 800 people in Nigeria, Niger and their neighbouring countries. Around 1.3 million people were displaced in Nigeria alone. The impact of the 2022 rainfall there was further heightened by the overflowing of Cameroon’s Lagdo Dam – the dam sits on the Benue River, which runs through Nigeria. As a result, these countries were forced to deal with unprecedented situations.
While Senegal was less affected compared to other countries in the region, meteorologists nonetheless recorded a 200% increase in rainfall in the capital Dakar in 2022 compared to normal levels. Climate events are becoming more and more unpredictable. Based on our security assessment, the upcoming rainy season could pose serious risks for organisations operating in West Africa. Such organisations should take precautions to mitigate any potential impact to their business operations and workforce.
To support clients operating in this region, our security team sends out regular security alerts and reports, outlining possible dangers and their best security recommendations. Below are some of the threats that organisations with operations in West Africa should be cognisant of during the rainy season, along with our recommendations:
Threats during the Rainy Season
- Disruption to services and supply chains from infrastructure damage due to flooding or landslides (e.g impacted buildings, bridges, roads, healthcare facilities and power lines).
- Property or water damage which could affect employee safety, and the integrity of equipment and materials.
- Transport disruption which could impact the movement of employees or goods.
- Disruption to communications, making it difficult to locate employees.
- Spread of waterborne and vector-borne diseases (e.g cholera, typhoid and malaria) which can cause outbreaks and put stress on the local healthcare system.
- Disruption to business operations and potential financial losses due to the factors mentioned above.
Recommendations for Organisations during the Rainy Season
- Reconsider travel to areas affected by flooding.
- If travel is unavoidable, consider using alternative roads to avoid crossing floodwaters. Avoid low-lying areas and riverbanks.
- Follow all directives issued by officials and the emergency services and keep abreast of developments through our International SOS alerts.
- Have an evacuation plan ready, as well as backup plans in case of disruption to communications.
- Have a contingency plan in place to ensure business continuity and to mitigate any potential negative impact on your workforce, operations, infrastructure and equipment.
If you require any support with putting similar plans in place within your organisation, our experts can assist you. Get in touch with us now.