Flood and drought risk profiles for Africa (2018-2020)

In 2018, as part of the ‘Building Disaster Resilience to Natural Hazards in Sub-Saharan African Regions, Countries and Communities’ Programme funded by the European Union, the National Disaster Management Authority, UNDRR and the CIMA Research Foundation, in collaboration with WUR and VU-IVM, have developed risk profiles for floods and droughts at national level for sixteen African countries. The Country Risk Profiles provide a comprehensive view of hazard, risk and uncertainties for floods and droughts in a changing climate and socio-economic situation, projected over the next 50 years. The profiles include an estimation – under current and future climate – of the monetary losses for a number of sectors identified by the Sendai targets, namely: housing, health and education, agriculture, productive asset, critical infrastructure, housing, services and transports.

The project has evolved around national workshops aimed at sharing the risk profiling methodology and the results as well as exploring the application of the risk profiles in the development of Disaster Risk Reduction strategies at national level. Together with the risk profiles, the workshops have contributed at providing a more complete picture of the likelihood and impact of floods and droughts, while improving the understanding of risks and the related impact to each critical sector, as well as enhancing internal coordination efforts to prevent, mitigate and respond to such disaster risks and, by promoting the integration of scientific risk information into decision-making processes.

In 2019, during a second phase of the project, more focus was placed on the integration of local data and knowledge to improve the probabilistic risk profiles for floods and droughts and to mainstream them in national development policies across sectors. Work was done to improve the availability and the quality of disaster risk information through the consolidation of the results of the risk profiles in four selected countries – Republic of Angola, U.R Tanzania and Republic of Zambia. The integration of local data and knowledge, in close partnership with local institutions already identified and engaged during the workshops implemented in the previous phase, was used as the first step of the process. Engagement of national governments and key stakeholders in the revision of national risk profiles did contribute to the accuracy of risk profiles and its mainstreaming in national development policies and strategies.

Study visit CIMA
Study visit to CIMA Research Foundation with delegations from Angola, Tanzania and Zambia, to work on the improvement of the first round risk profiles

The role of the VU-IVM in this project concerned the assessment of national and district drought risk following the risk indicators defined by SENDAI Framework for DRR. Common drought hazard indices (SPI, SPEI, SSMI, SSFI) were calculated and combined with globally available as well as local exposure data to estimate the people and livestock potentially affected by droughts. The Direct Economic loss due to reduced hydropower production was assessed. Besides, a novel method using Machine Learning techniques, local drought impact reports and the DesInventar database was applied to tailor drought risk maps to reflect local vulnerabilities. Moreover, VU-IVM staff contributed to the facilitation of 9 national workshops with stakeholders and policy makers.

This study was conducted in collaboration with CIMA research foundation and UNDRR Africa.

Contact information: Dr Hans de Moel and Marthe Wens

All risk profiles and associated results have been made publicly available on www.riskprofilesundrr.org


  • 16 country risk profiles for floods and droughts for the following countries: Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Kingdom of Eswatini, Ivory Coast, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tanzania and Zambia.
  • Country risk profiles of Tanzania, Angola, and Zambia were updated based on the identified complementary datasets, using new risk metrics, and including – in discussion with national stakeholders – case-specific needs related to national DRR strategies, to the UNDAF and to other priority policies. Also guidelines on the use of the probabilistic risk profiles in decision-making policies for DRR, CCA and Sustainable Development were added.