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Flood vulnerability assessment of donstream area in Mono basin in Yoto district, south-eastern Togo

par Abravi Essenam KISSI
University of Lome - Master 2014

précédent sommaire suivant Awareness and impacts of flood

The awareness to flood hazards may raise the attention of population on how to manage flood risks. According to the key informants (NGOs and Public institutions) that were interviewed in the field, the occurrence of flood in the area does not take the residents by surprise because even though it is a natural phenomenon, the residents know when the river may overflow and they received warning on radio and through the sign posts implanted to indicate the water level. Equally, they are aware of flood-related risks in the area. The analysis shows that the majority, 94.1% is aware of the flood risks, while only 4.5% said they are not aware. A majority of the households (84.6%) said they had warnings about the threat of flood and how to handle its effects, while 13.6% said they did not have any prior warning about the impending threat of flood. Looking at the 2010 flood which was exceptional in the area according to the population, 86.9% were aware of the 2010 flood occurrence while only 9.5% said they were not aware.

Regarding the different ways for passing information on flood threat, 77.8% of the total respondents said they received information by radio, while 2.7% and 0.09% said they received warnings about floods by traditional ways and through volunteers of the Red Cross, respectively. Furthermore, despite the threats caused by flood in those communities, they still live in the same area for several reasons. The majority of the respondents (47.5%) reported they have nowhere to go, 22.2%, 12.7%, and 8.6% reported respectively that it is hard to find farmland elsewhere, that the lands are for their ancestors, and the lands of the area are fertile.

In terms of the impact of 2010 flood, 96.4% of the respondents had been affected in various ways (loss of crops, destruction of houses, loss of animals, loss of important assets etc.) and 2.7% said they had not been affected. Environmental conditions

The extent of environmental degradation has also an important role to play in exacerbating community vulnerability. The field survey revealed that the study area is subjected to the fragmentation of the river bank digging and widening the river channel, the soil degradation "photo 6 and 7" and removing of vegetation along the river bank which leaves the soil exposed and increase surface runoff and then flood extent. AGO et al (2005) observed that, the soil degradation, the deforestation of the floodplain, the increase in the number of human settlements in the river boundary increases the vulnerability of population to flood hazard.

Photo 5: Dehydrate soil in Batoe village, Photo 6: Mono River bank fragmentation Photograph taken during field work in Mawussou village, Photograph taken during field work Household coping mechanisms

The occurrence of flood hazard affects people in different ways. The affected people are forced to employ coping strategies. Various preparedness and coping mechanism are adopted by the surveyed households. Advanced preparation, training and planning will facilitate the evacuation processes (Ekotu, 2012:101). The majority of the respondents of the total sample (58.4%), reported they employed preparedness measures to reduce flood impact and (48%) have used reactive measures to cope during. They employed pro-active measures such as the use of short cycle seeds (6.3%), early harvest (13.1%), preparation of evacuation place (9%), protection of food supply (5%), putting of important assets in safe place (12.2%). Respondents reported to employ reactive measures, such as tire track (1.8%), sandbag track (11.8%), backfilling with sand (22.6%), backfilling with palm kernel shells (5.9%), and pumping (0.09%). The use of those pro-active measures as well as the reactive measures by the population were confirmed by Red cross institution of the Yoto district that is highly involved in disaster risk reduction in the targeted areas.

During and after flood disasters, most of households do not have any assistance from government and there is no policy to help the communities out. Each household, then, relies on itself and on their families and relatives in non-flooded area to cope with flood.

Despite the existing anticipatory information in the study area there is no adequate strategy to increase population's resilience to flood disaster. This calls to think on alternative solution to increase adaptive capacities of population. According to the key informant interview, population in vulnerable areas should firstly change their mentality in order to accept their relocation in a safe areas, they should build strong houses and adopt an appropriate agricultural practices adapted to their area and the use of short cycle seeds to increase their resilience.

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