Michael Clark, Assistant Resilience Consultant from RAB, reports on efforts being made to improve disaster management in the West African country of Ghana.
In June 2015, significant flooding in Ghana led to the loss of many lives in Accra. Four days of rainfall across the region resulted in many parts of the town being inundated by flood waters. The flooding followed 185mm of rain in a single day – more than the average rainfall for the month.
Reports on the scale of the disaster state that Ghana’s Fire Service reported that a fire started at a bus station and then spread to a nearby gas station, causing an explosion which killed many people taking refuge from the flooding.
Since then, the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) have been taking steps to reduce the risk of future flooding. Actions include educating members of the public about responding to the potential threat of flooding and removal of illegal structures built within waterways which had a key role in the 2015 floods.
Afri-Gate is a project led by the Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre (BUDMC) and supported by RAB Consultants that aims to build resilience to both natural and man-made disasters in West Africa. The initial phase of the project is currently identifying where there are challenges for disaster management in Ghana and will direct the second phase of the project which seeks to address how to manage and build the resilience of communities to a broad range of hazards including flooding.
I’ve recently returned from a trip to Accra to understand the disaster management and resilience structure in Ghana. I witnessed first-hand the huge strides being made by NADMO in establishing a robust disaster management structure and the credible steps taken towards more focus on disaster risk reduction through the establishment of a flood early warning system.
It is anticipated that the first phase of the Afri-Gate project will conclude with a series of workshops later in 2017 where I’ll return to Accra along with colleagues from the research team at BUDMC in support of improved flood and disaster risk management.