In 2017, severe flooding hit the Republic of Congo, which was already suffering from shortage of functional water gauges due to political turnover and an outdated system of handwritten rainfall records in its most flood-prone regions. As a result, many villages and a total of 3,000 people were left stranded without food or help for 3 weeks, as information did not reach authorities at the scope or scale needed to effectively respond.
Following this disaster, WFP and the RoC government sought a solution to build country-wide flood monitoring and analytics.
Within a year, with Floodbase’s support, the WFP Congo office used Floodbase’s Flood Intelligence Platform’s to receive near real-time flood data during the rainy season in a localized portal, with alerts and impact analytics sent through easy-to-communicate formats in the field such as Whatsapp groups and emergency hotlines.
In 2018, WFP and the broader UN network worried about a new group of 11,000 refugees that arrived in the flood prone village of Makotipoko. In just three days, Floodbase provided historical risk maps that predicted that area was at high risk of flooding. With these maps, the Ministry of Social Affairs supported the relocation of 7,000 at-risk refugees.
10 months later, the very same site was majorly inundated in a country-wide disaster, the worst the country had seen in decades. WFP needed fast and accurate data to prove how impacted the area was, and which populations were most directly hit. Floodbase tasked high resolution satellites and provided emergency numbers in days, which enabled WFP Congo to secure $12.5 M in emergency funding for the relief effort.
Once the floods themselves receded in early 2020, Floodbase produced crop damage assessments to fast-track the longer term recovery efforts on a monthly basis, supplementing socioeconomic field analyses to help better target communities with broader food security programming. Today, monitoring continues for the fifth year in a row, helping WFP RoC and the country government declare a national emergency and respond three months earlier than the year prior in the 2020-2021 rainy season, with WFP RoC emerging as clear leaders within the UN in fundraising and response.