German environment researcher urges attitudinal change to reduce impact of flooding

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Professor Britta Hoellermann
Professor Britta Hoellermann

Professor Britta Hoellermann, a Geographical and human environment researcher at the University of OsnabrÜck in Germany has reiterated the need for attitudinal change, to reduce the impact of flooding.

The Professor who is also affiliate to the PARADeS project which aims to help investigate key mechanisms, existing flood risk and disaster management, governance –policy, said attitudinal and behaviour change also required a better way of waste disposal, keeping drains and water ways free of waste and sustaining the natural environment.

She made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, after she facilitated a two day midterm workshop of the PARADeS project, to assess flood disaster risks management (FDRM) and institutional challenges in managing flood situations in the region.

She said drains would not work properly when they are choked with sand and filth and advocated for change in behavior towards the environment and called on institutions including the Municipal and District Assemblies to support that exercise, backed by effective byelaws.

Professor Hoellermann, one of the leaders of the research team for PARADeS with experience from other projects related to flooding and agriculture said the workshop formed part of a forum to collate views from stakeholders on Disaster Risks management in the country, adaptation measures and people’s reaction to flooding in identified areas in Accra, Kumasi and Bolgatanga.

She said earlier consultations held in Accra, and Kumasi led to a pre study on flooding areas in Ghana and noted that views gathered were diverse and depended on how people interacted with water.

She said people were building houses along buffer zones, farmed along the banks of rivers, making it high risk area to live in.

While in the cities, the Pressure of urbanization and unplanned settlement were increasingly causing flooding of the areas after rains.

She said the PARADeS project which is in its midterm had collected information policy options and policy instruments on institutions through stakeholders on how people reacted to flood.

She stated that the best scenario required technical prevention measures as well as secondary measures that would give room for a river to expand without hurting anyone.

And for a flood free scenario, she said, there should be emergency response systems readily available not only to save property and houses but more importantly saving human lives during floods.

She noted that the outcome of the project would provide Specific knowledge and expertise to partners, and provide good guidance on different perspectives of managing floods.

“There is room for improvement and new hydrological and hydro dynamic models would be developed for communication on floods and also provide training of trainers to improve skills in implementation of recommendations of the research”, she said.

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