Natural Hazard Risk
Senegal is vulnerable to several natural hazards, particularly coastal erosion, droughts, floods, and locust invasions. Flooding annually affects about 200,000 people and has an $89 million impact, with large-scale flooding in 2009 largely in the Dakar region causing about $104 million in damages and losses. Flood risk is exacerbated by rapid urbanization, insufficient drainage, and poor sewage infrastructure, which has resulted in the settling of low-lying areas and a reduction in soil infiltration potential. Droughts generally impact the arid and semi-arid Sahelian regions (northern Senegal) every three to four years. Since 1980, droughts have affected more than 3 million people.
Climate change is exacerbating hazard risk in Senegal. Rising sea levels and increasingly intense storms are the primary causes of coastal erosion and flood risks. About 74 percent of the coastal-area housing stock is vulnerable to erosion. Sea levels are projected to rise up to one meter by 2100, potentially putting more than 100,000 people in low-lying areas at greater risk for flooding.
The government has taken steps to advance disaster risk management (DRM), particularly around flood risk following the 2009 floods. In 2012, Senegal established the Ministry for Restructuring and Managing Flood Zones to oversee flood management and prevention and in 2013, the National Strategy for Economic and Social development was published, with a focus on risk and disaster prevention and management. Currently, the Ten-Year Flood Management Program (2012–2022) includes a sustainable flood management project and the National Office of Sanitation’s projects to build a drainage network.
To further advance its DRM agenda, Senegal’s national priorities include:
- Mainstreaming DRM in urban planning;
- Supporting a national program for flood management;
- Establishing DRM financing mechanisms; and,
- Developing and operating a risk monitoring and evaluation system.
GFDRR has supported disaster risk management activities in Senegal since 2008, with a focus on risk identification, risk reduction, and facilitating post-disaster recovery and reconstruction.
Following the severe flooding in 2009, GFDRR supported a post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA). The assessment identified the urgency of addressing the underlying causes of recurrent floods and recommended medium- and long-term strategies for reducing flood risks.
In 2012, GFDRR supported a DRM and climate change adaptation project. To strengthen the DRM institutional mechanisms, the project enhanced a national early warning coordination mechanism, improved emergency preparedness, and developed a coordination and crisis management center.
Building on the recommendations of the PDNA, the government and the World Bank launched a $72.9 million project for storm water management and climate change resilience. The project constructed storm water drainage in Dakar’s suburban neighborhoods and integrated flood risk mapping in Senegal’s urban plans.
A risk assessment in Dakar was conducted with GFDRR support. In partnership with the Municipal Development Agency, the assessment evaluated natural hazards and climate change risks in the urban and peri-urban areas of Dakar. Based on this spatial analysis, a broad action plan was developed to lower the city’s vulnerability to natural hazard risks. The outcomes of the study have been incorporated into the agency's training modules for local and municipal governments.
GFDRR anticipates continued demand from the Government of Senegal to support:
- Gaining a comprehensive understanding of natural hazard and climate risks, and their projected impacts;
- Improving post-emergency assessment and recovery implementation capacity;
- Strengthening of DRM financing mechanisms; and,
- Supporting the national strategy for the protection of coastal zones.