A stakeholder engagement workshop on flood resilience in Ghana organised by the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) in collaboration with the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Programme (CADFP) has ended in Sunyani.
The two-day programme sought to identify ways to preventing the nation’s recurrent flooding incidence so that it would not become an uncontrollable canker for the unborn generation.
In a broader sense, it was designed to build on Ghana’s commitment to the UN’s “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030”.
The Sendai Framework, beside other objectives aims “to achieve the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries”.
Specifically, the workshop also highlighted the emerging role of Earth Observation Data, Geospatial Science and Technology (GIST) and Landscape Perspectives to mitigating perennial flooding in Ghana, particularly in the urban areas already stressed by the increasing frequency and intensity of floods.
Participants included representatives of environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as City 2000 Youth Action International (C2YAI), an Accra-based Ghanaian NGO with the United Nations’ (UN) recognition and GreenHut Ghana and Community Engagement, also a Ghanaian NGO.
Other participants were lecturers, teaching assistants and students of the UENR.
Dr Henry Nii Nmai Bulley, a Professor of Geography and Geographic Information Science (GIS) at the City University of New York, United States of America (USA) was the lead facilitator.
In a post-workshop interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Dr. Bulley stressed the programme was significant because Ghana could not continue to suffer from the perennial flooding phenomenon and its associated destructions.
He said this could be prevented by “the implementation of drone-assisted community flood mapping and developing a flood resilience platform based on Open Street Map using Open Data Cube for flood monitoring in the country”.
Dr Bulley who has just been re-elected Vice-president of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE) responsible for Africa thus emphasised “stakeholder-driven problem-solving approach is so much needed by Ghana to solve the perennial flooding challenge”.
In dealing with increased flood-related disasters in the country, it was vital to explore innovative ways to build capacity for resilience to address the core aspects of the priorities action areas of the Sendai Framework, he stated.
These included improving citizens understanding of flood disaster risk and enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response to mitigate the substantial risk of catastrophic floods to vulnerable communities due to changing climate patterns, he added.
Dr Bulley commended the board and management of the Water Research Institute of the Council for Scientific Industrial Research for embracing the idea of empowering stakeholders for flood resilience in Ghana.
Mr Alexius Allen Quashie, the Director of Operations for C2YAI, in another interview with the GNA observed that the concept (building stakeholders’ capacity for flood resilience in Ghana) would help to identify the catchment areas and institute preventive measures to address the situation.
He continued this could be more effective with the involvement of communities to let them understand and develop interest in flood management.
Among the factors discussed as some major causes of flooding in the country were artisanal mining, improper construction of buildings/building in water ways, poor sanitation practices/ indiscriminate waste disposal and badly-constructed drainage systems.