Open Access Article

Title: Dirty droughts causing loss and damage in Northern Burkina Faso

Authors: Seydou Traore; Tom Owiyo

Addresses: African Climate Policy Center (ACPC), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), P.O. Box 3001, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Texas A&M University, 207B Scoates Hall 2117, Tx 77843 College Station, USA ' African Climate Policy Center (ACPC), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), P.O. Box 3001, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Abstract: Extreme droughts in the northern part of Burkina Faso are locally referred to as tundi, meaning 'dirty weather', because they severely disrupt people's livelihoods in the area. This article investigates the loss and damage from the tundi droughts that occurred in 2004 and 2010 in the Sahel Region. The study conducted field survey among households in ten villages. We found that people's reliance on transhumance has been decreasing over the last decades due to the lack of good pastures, competition over natural resources and corollary conflicts. Whereas transhumance was an effective way to deal with droughts and seasonality, decreased mobility and increased interdependence between cattle and crop production has made people more vulnerable in the event of extreme droughts. Evidences from the survey results show that the vast majority of the respondents experienced negative effects of recent tundi droughts on crops (96%) and livestock (87%). It is also found that such extreme droughts tend to have a cascading impact; they first cause a lack of water affecting seedling and crop yields, which then affects the availability of food for people and feed for livestock. This, in turn, further limits their capacity to cope with future droughts.

Keywords: household loss; household damage; climate change; dirty drought; cascading impacts; crops; livestock; coping strategies; negative effects; Burkina Faso; Sahel; tundi; transhumance; extreme droughts; water scarcity; food shortages.

DOI: 10.1504/IJGW.2013.057288

International Journal of Global Warming, 2013 Vol.5 No.4, pp.498 - 513

Received: 22 May 2013
Accepted: 22 Aug 2013

Published online: 22 Oct 2013 *