Addressing the Rising Flood Risk: A Call for Joint Efforts and Strategic Planning
The Ministry of Works and Housing in Accra, Ghana, is urging all stakeholders to come together and address the escalating flood risk in the nation’s capital and other cities. The ministry has highlighted the need for Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to prevent the construction of new buildings in zones that are prone to flooding. This measure aims to mitigate the damage caused during heavy rainfalls and subsequent floods, which have been a recurring issue in urban areas.
The Ministry has also called upon the Ministry of Roads and Highways, the Ghana Highway Authority, and Urban Roads. These entities have been asked to ensure the smooth and effective functioning of roadside drains, an essential component to manage rainwater during the monsoon season. By maintaining efficient drainage systems, these organizations can significantly contribute to reducing the intensity of urban flooding and the adverse effects it has on city infrastructure and residents.
Public Awareness and Responsibility
The Ministry emphasized the media’s role in raising public awareness about responsible behaviours to prevent exacerbating the flood situation. Media platforms are being urged to educate the public about the impact of their actions on the city’s flood risk. This includes discouraging the dumping of refuse in drains and over-paving of compounds, both of which can obstruct water flow and contribute to flooding. Public participation and responsible behaviour are crucial in the fight against urban flooding.
International Efforts in Flood Risk Management
This appeal for joint efforts in flood risk management resonates with global initiatives that recognize the importance of collaboration and strategic planning in managing climate change impacts. For example, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has a Climate Resiliency Committee, tasked with understanding and preparing for potential climate-related impacts such as flooding and extreme heat events. This committee involves faculty, engineering and facility staff, risk insurance and climate science experts, emergency management, and students. Similarly, the Biden-Harris Administration in the United States has announced over 220 billion in funding for over 32,000 projects across the country, aiming to rebuild infrastructure and enhance climate resilience.
The rising flood risk is not isolated to Ghana or developing nations. In 2006, central New York experienced record-breaking floods, and just five years later, the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee caused even greater damage. These events prompted a shift in how the region approached flood risk management, moving towards multiple small-scale flood prevention projects and more natural techniques. The aim of these measures was to improve the overall resiliency of the area. The lessons learned from such experiences underline the need for a proactive, strategic, and collaborative approach in managing flood risks.
The call from the Ministry of Works and Housing in Accra is a step in the right direction. As cities around the world grapple with the impacts of climate change and urbanization, it’s clear that collaboration, strategic planning, and public participation are key to addressing the increasing flood risk.
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