Many African countries are extremely vulnerable to extreme weather events. They face even greater risks in the future as human induced climate change increasingly alters the weather and climate patterns that societies have come to depend on. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Sahel will experience increasingly higher average temperatures as well as changes in rainfall patterns over the course of the 21st century.
Flash floods are among the world’s deadliest natural disasters with more than 5 000 lives lost annually. Their social, economic and environmental impacts are significant. Accounting for approximately 85% of flooding cases, flash floods also have the highest mortality rate among different classes of flooding, including riverine and coastal. Flash floods differ from river floods in their short time scales and occurrence on small spatial scales, which makes flash flood forecasting a different challenge from large-river flood forecasting.
The overarching goal for the programme “GFCS Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in Africa” is to provide timely and accurate climate and weather services for disaster risk reduction and increased resilience in agriculture.
Through an agreement with Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA), WMO is supporting countries in West Africa to improve the severe weather forecasting and warning services. By making best use of the latest available weather prediction products and satellite-based information and radar products, countries will be able to better cope and respond to climate variability and change. SWFDP has already shown considerable progress and success in different regions including Southern and Eastern Africa, South Pacific and Southeast Asia and is now being replicated in West Africa.