Burkina Faso is at risk to several natural hazards, including droughts, floods, epidemics, heat waves, wind storms and insect infestations. These threats hamper the country’s development and contribute to problems such as desertification, land degradation, food insecurity, increased poverty incidents, migration away from the central area of the country, and overall development. The vulnerability to these hazards is enhanced due to the country's high dependence on the agricultural sector.
This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. And it allows quick evaluation of most vulnerable areas through the spatial comparison of natural hazard data with development data, thereby identifying exposed livelihoods and natural systems.
The charts provide overview of the most frequent natural disaster in a given country and understand the impacts of those disasters on human populations.
Climate change is now recognized to have a significant impact on disaster management efforts and pose a significant threat to the efforts to meet the growing needs of the most vulnerable populations. The demands of disaster risk management are such that concise, clear, and reliable information is crucial. The information presented here offers insight into the frequency, impact and occurrence of natural hazards. Source (PDF)
Understanding natural hazard occurrence as well as historical climate conditions, in relation to development contexts, is critical to understanding a country’s historical vulnerability. This tool allows the visualization of different natural hazards or historical climate conditions with socio-economic and development datasets. Select the Development Context and either a Natural Hazard or Climate Condition and overlay horizontally by sliding the toggle left or right to gain a broader sense of historically vulnerable areas.
Data presented under Historical Climate Conditions are reanalysis products derived from ERA5-Land data. ERA5-Land is a global land-surface dataset at 9 km resolution, consistent with atmospheric data from the ERA5 reanalysis from 1950 onward. Climate reanalyses combine past observations with models to generate consistent time series of multiple climate variables. They provide a comprehensive description of the observed climate as it has evolved during recent decades, on 3D grids at sub-daily intervals.
This data has been collected, aggregated and processed by the Climate Resilience Cluster of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) initiative.
- Drought: With sporadic rains and poor water retention in soils, Burkina Faso has experienced ‘quasi-drought’ conditions since the early 1970s. These conditions are most pronounced between November and December when humidity averages 10%, and in the north where rain only comes during two months out of the year.
- Flooding: Burkina Faso’s wet season is characterized by heavy and often relentless rain that can wreak havoc on the country’s poorly constructed informal settlements and degraded landscape, disturb the entire water sector, and destroy or reduce infrastructure services. Over the past 30 years, severe flooding has occurred repeatedly especially in the north and center of the country, resulting from successive drought periods.
- Epidemics: Burkina Faso’s hot and dry climate is favorable to meningitis outbreaks from October to May and to cholera epidemics. Deadly meningitis outbreaks occurred in 1996 (killing 4,000), 2001 (killing over 1,500), 2006 (killing 600), 2007 (killing 1,330), and most recently in March 2010 with 193 fatalities. Measles epidemics are also a major issue.
- Wind Storms and Insect Infestations: During the dry season, the harmattan winds spread across Burkina Faso, bringing hot, dry air and sand storms across the central Mossi Plateau. When coinciding with locust outbreaks, the harmattan winds can accelerate their spread to communities at a rate up to 200 km per day.
More information on natural hazards can be found at ThinkHazard.
- Increases in climate variability, reduction in the length of the rainy season, and uncertain projections of increasing extreme rainfall events can lead to insufficient crop yields. In order to prevent detrimental effects on the economy, support needs to be extended for the implementation of cost-effective risk transfer and risk reduction measures such as the provision of “safety nets” and the development of early warning systems.
- An increase in maximum temperatures, and probable increase in drought conditions, will affect pastoralist activities by contributing to land degradation and by directly impacting herd mortality rates.
- To reduce the loss of lives and destruction of infrastructure during the wet season, spatial management of rural and urban areas as well as housing construction materials, design, and locations need to be improved. Enhanced urban and rural land-use planning remain critical in the long term. Dams and drainage systems should also be strengthened so that intense rainfall does not easily overwhelm and break the system.
- Government sector ministries need to include risk reduction of hazards and vulnerabilities into future planning and concrete actions, including establishing “better multi-sector coordination within the ministries and key stakeholders in order to assure a common approach in disaster prevention management."
- The role of the DGPC (La Direction Générale de la Protection Civile) and CONASUR (le Conseil National de Secours d’Urgence et de Réhabilitation) have to be clearly defined and promoted to rely less on external disaster management.