Professor Chris Gordon, the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) Country Engagement Lead, has said the main problem to the flooding menace is lack of a coordinated holistic approach to floods in the cities.
He said: “There are many reasons why we have floods, including; the changing climate, but lots of the flood issues are as a result of poor waste management, as a result of unplanned settlements and the lack of proper infrastructure to deal with the water”.
Prof Gordon, who was the former Director of the Institute of Environment and Sanitation Studies (IESS), University of Ghana, Legon said that, he believed that if the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) worked together and all the units of the Assemblies worked together across their boundaries, they would come out with better and more sustainable solutions to the flooding menace.
Speaking at a Flood Management Forum in Accra, he called for early warning systems in the Assemblies to enable them give signals to other Assemblies of impending flood disaster moving from their districts to another.
“We need to have those systems in place to prevent loss of lives, peoples’ homes and livelihoods and in fact, to keep the country functioning…”
Prof. Gordon explained that the amount of money lost through loss and damage or breakdown of services or inability to deliver services as a result of floods was far greater than the cost it would take to repair the systems.
The forum was organised by CDKN and the University of Ghana to initiate a dialogue amongst MMDAs and also coordinate the use of Nature Based solutions in solving the flooding challenges the Assemblies faced.
It was a follow-up and response to a request at the 2019 workshop to have a platform to discuss flood matters and to find solutions to challenges among the MMDAs.
Seven MMDAs, including; Tema Municipal Assembly, AMA, Kpone Katamanso, Ga-East, Ga-Central, LaNMMA, Academia and Government Institutions and Committees on various climate finance platforms participated in the forum.
At the end of the forum, participants agreed that Nature Based solutions should be integrated into District Medium Term Development Plan and that disaster and preparedness should be gender and disability friendly.
Accra and its peri-urban areas have suffered from annual floods during the rainy seasons due to poor drainage caused by lack or inadequate infrastructure-compounded by the few drains present underperforming due to plastic waste and rubbish in gutters.
Other factors are urban sprawl leading to unplanned and unserved communities, and an increase in in the intensity and unpredictability of rainfall.