A new £1m (US$1.3m) international project is set to provide research to better understand and predict flooding on the Nile River in Uganda and South Sudan.
In 2021, the worst flooding in living memory in South Sudan affected over 835,000 people according to UN-OCHA. Communities displaced by conflict (which disproportionately includes more women and children) are more vulnerable to the flood impacts, which include elevated food insecurity due to flooded crops and livestock deaths, and limited access to healthcare due to flooded facilities.
The new project, called Improved Anticipation of Flood on the White Nile (INFLOW), is part of the Climate Adaptation and Resilience (CLARE) research program, and is co-led by the University of Reading and ICPAC, the IGAD Climate Predictions and Applications Centre in Nairobi.
INFLOW includes national and regional hydrological agencies, academic institutions, humanitarian organizations and the private sector working together on interdisciplinary research to deliver a step-change in our ability to anticipate flooding and its impacts.
Professor Liz Stephens, of the University of Reading and Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, said, “While anticipatory humanitarian action has the potential to provide support to vulnerable communities before the disaster strikes, the flood forecast models needed to inform these actions currently have poor skill in the region. INFLOW will be improving the accuracy of flood early warning information and the more robust use of humanitarian resources.”
Mohammed Hassan, hydrometeorologist at ICPAC in Nairobi, said, “This is a complex river to model, with lakes, wetlands and water regulation infrastructure all requiring additional complexity within the hydrological models. As a transboundary river basin, improving hydrological modelling and flood management in the White Nile is also dependent on collaboration between upstream and downstream stakeholders, something that ICPAC strongly encourages.”
CLARE is a £110m (US$140m), UK-Canada framework research program on climate adaptation and resilience, aiming to enable socially inclusive and sustainable action to build resilience to climate change and natural hazards. CLARE is an initiativ jointly designed, funded and run by the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office and Canada’s International Development Research Centre. CLARE is primarily funded by UK aid from the UK government, along with the International Development Research Centre, Canada.
INFLOW is a project co-led by the University of Reading and ICPAC, and includes Makerere University in Uganda, the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, Uganda Red Cross Society, the Uganda Ministry of Water and Environment and the South Sudan Ministry of Irrigation. Médecins sans Frontieres and Google provide in-kind support as additional project partners.