Rainfall variability and floods occurrence in the city of Bamenda (Northwest of Cameroon)

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Abstract

This study is based on analysis of rainfall data from 1951-2010 collected at the climatic station of Bamenda. We also use the results of a questionnaire survey applied to 172 households in at-risk neighborhoods. The inventory of some cases of flooding that occurred in the city of Bamenda was done through focus groups. The appreciation of the socio-economic and demographic environment is based on surveys among Cameroonian Households by the National Institute of Statistics (NIS) and General Census of Population and Housing. Statistical examination revealed that annual rainfall in the city of Bamenda experienced a break in 1958. This break buckled the wettest decade of the series. After three decades of worsening, rainfall is experiencing rising since early 1990. The average profile of the annual distribution of rainfall shows a concentration of over 53% in 03 months (July, August and September). During these three months, the rivers of the city know their flood flows and populations in the valleys are affected. The analysis of the annual number of rainy days shows a downward trend and an increase of extreme rainfall event frequency (≥50mm in 24h). It is also apparent that more and more years are experiencing erratic distribution of their precipitation. Then, the perception of people is significantly reduced. Subsistence activities are also affected and development is facing new subtleties. In conclusion, the rainfall experienced strong variability in the city of Bamenda. This situation reinforces the risk of flooding by increasing flood water and increasing the vulnerability of populations.

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