Sao Tomé and Principe: Floods and Landslides – Emergency Action Plan (EPoA), DREF Operation n° MDRST001 – Sao Tomé and Principe

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Rainfall in 2021 in Sao Tome and Principe peaked between December 27 and 28, 2021, causing the country’s rivers to rise. In less than 24 hours, the rain that fell on the archipelago wreaked havoc in the capital and in several other regions of the country, particularly in areas crossed by streams and along rivers. According to the country’s Meteorological Institute, the country had not seen such heavy rainfall in more than 30 years. The storm that hit the archipelago, in particular the island of Sao Tome, on December 28, 2021, left two dead and at least six missing, notably in S. Jean Vargem and the community of Ponte Samu.

On December 30, 2021, the government of Sao Tome declared a state of disaster due to the damage caused and appealed for international assistance during a meeting attended by international actors in the country and embassies. .

The material damage is innumerable, and a continuous assessment carried out jointly with the government mission will make it possible to know the extent of the damage. However, although almost the whole country has been affected by the floods, the north of the country and the capital are the most affected. Due to limited road access caused by landslides and road damage, CONPREC recorded the following damage:

  • In the central part of the capital, downpours resulting from rainfall swept away tree trunks and a huge amount of waste. When it hit the bridge near the EMAE (National Water and Electricity Company), the waste turned into an obstructing heap and blocked the course of the Agua Grande River. This caused the river to overflow, quickly flooding the city. Many public and private establishments, shopping malls and restaurants were flooded. The suddenness of the flood caused the flooding of all parking lots in the capital, with cars completely submerged and the entire center of the capital impassable.

  • In urban areas, where most people live, flooding is caused by rising water levels in lakes and rivers that cross the country. According to the CONPREC report, the bed of Lake Lugi, the mouth of the Douro River and the Lemba River overflowed their banks. This part of the territory is morphologically very hilly and has very steep slopes. This landscape increases the speed of the water and has caused erosion and landslides in all the surrounding localities. The lack of land leveling and embankments considerably widened the extent of the damage.

  • Landslides, rockfalls, torrents and waterspouts and mudslides have occurred around bridges and rivers. A strip of land supporting the Fernão Dias road has completely broken away.

  • Bridges in Sao Tomé were destroyed, including the bridges of Lemba, Bingoma, Birgoma and Samû.

  • Waters or landslides washed away household livestock and crops.

In addition, these meteorological and climatic phenomena are accompanied by a disruption of the economic fabric of the country because they strongly affect crops, supply routes, economic infrastructure such as local markets and fishing.

Current responses in the country are focused on the capital and the most needy areas are in Lemba and Me-Zochi districts, with around 9,000 people affected out of 15,000 according to demographic data.

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