Mitigating Floods in IDP Camps: Northern Nigeria

Internally Displaced People in Nigeria

Water, Humanitarian Aid and Migration Team

Nigeria is encountering serious development deficits and multi-dimensional poverty, limited governance systems, increased vulnerability to extreme events such as floods and droughts and competition over natural resources due to climate change.

This has led to undermined low security and exacerbated inequality. The complex setting escalated to mass displacement when North-East Nigeria witnessed an increase in violence perpetrated by non-State armed groups, most particularly by insurgent group Boko Haram, from 2014 onwards. Ever since, conflict has hampered Nigeria’s Northern States of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, where nearly 3 million people now live in the most desperate (formal and informal) camps that serve as a refuge from violent attacks. With little livelihood opportunities and severe needs in terms of food security, protection and basic services, this crisis remains amongst the most severe protracted humanitarian crises in today's world.

Flood modelling for sustainable drainage

Water, Humanitarian Aid and Migration Team

The project builds upon a thorough flood risk assessment embedded in an IWRM approach.

The resulting information forms the basis for critical evidence-based programming for water security in a timely, (cost) efficient, effective and sustainable manner. A participatory modelling approach was followed for the preparation, development and use of the models and tools in collaboration between the partners of this project; Deltares, DSS Water, IOM WASH Nigeria, and Red Cross 510 experts.

The flood modelling approach combined global open-source data and models (HydroMT) with the use of local information and knowledge. Artificial intelligence and ParTerra algorithms were used to refine the global data with available local data. The resulting flood model (DFLOW FM software) can estimate the extent and quantity of flooding events in the camps and verify the results with the locally available data. It is displayed in a dashboard to visualize the results in ways that are tailored made and easy to understand.

Hazard modelling of Bakasi Camp
Flooding in camp shown in the model result before the drainage network
Flooding in camp shown in the model result after the drainage network

Visualizing information for users

Water, Humanitarian Aid and Migration Team

The information presented in the dashboard can also be used to re-design emergency plans and optimize maintenance in existing camps, as well as to support feasibility studies and camp site selection.

Towards resilient camps

Water, Humanitarian Aid and Migration Team

The models indicate which IDP camps are most frequently and more severely flooded.

The resulting flood maps provide information on the specific locations where investments need to be prioritized and the types of interventions that are most suitable considering the local setting.

Based on the flood assessment, short-term interventions were implemented by the IOM WASH team in preparation for the next rainy season. In Bakasi camp in Maiduguri construction works have followed to build a drainage network. The canals are lined with sandbags to drain the water to outside the camps. With this project and the resulting measures, Deltares aims to reduce the vulnerability of forcibly-displaced people to water-risks.

Drainage construction at Bakasi Camp

Next steps

Water, Humanitarian Aid and Migration Team

More can still be done!

Longer-term measures to further mitigate flood pressures and increase resiliency in IDP camps in Northeastern Nigeria will be assessed on their sustainability, impact and effectiveness to avoid unnecessary costs that may arise from the undertaking of ineffective measures;

A generic framework and associated methods, models and tools was developed under the project. This framework can be applied in other IDP camps worldwide.

Created in partnership with: International Organization for Migration (IOM), Dutch Surge Support facility for water (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Deltares, Red Cross 510