Flood Resilience in Accra

Accra's Flooding Problem

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Natural disasters, related to water, in various forms have become more common in our daily lives and on our television screens. Within the past years, flooding has become a phenomenon which affects global, social, psychological and economic development. In Ghana there are major problems related to water and this has increased substantially over the years. Indeed, flooding is a major issue that is evident in urban sub-Saharan Africa and Ghana is no exception to this worrying phenomenon.
Poor and inadequate infrastructure and urban drainage systems have increased the risk of flooding in Accra, a city that has had an exponential increase in population. Flooding has affected the economy of Ghana, claimed the lives of humans and animals and has caused the outbreak of infectious diseases. However, current flood risk management approaches in Accra, which include demolishing affected buildings, have not been effective enough to reduce the impacts of Ghana’s floods.
This paper analyzes the current situation in Accra, the capital of Ghana, relating to floods, the factors that played a role in aggravating its effects, and how communities respond to flooding events. This is a main challenge Accra is dealing with and it is therefore imperative to look at the causes of flooding in Ghana as a country and propose an approach that can help mitigate the impact of floods. The challenge is to develop strategies for dealing specifically with increased vulnerability to flooding in order to reduce economic effects and save human lives, animals and properties. The study area consists of five local suburbs of Accra namely Agbogbloshie, Old Fadama, Adabraka, Weija and Alajo, which have been affected by floods. The effect of floods can be observed in an increased amount of flood events in these communities.
This thesis therefore uses the concept of resilience as the basis in solving this problem. The problem is defined using literature review, a case study, field inspections and interviews. Resilience at multi-level governance level is studied using an analytical framework to examine what policies government authorities have adopted to stimulate the adaptation of Accra into a more flood resilient urban environment. The changes need to be implemented to improve upon the flaws are also studied. The challenges involved in multi-level governance of Flood Risk Management in Ghana from the perspectives of the various actors are also examined. This will help in filling the knowledge gap in the literature on multi-level governance arrangements and the challenges involved for Ghana in the context of Flood Risk Management. To do this, a case study approach in which the interactions between the actors, stakeholders and the policy instruments are looked at, is applied.
The analytical framework is derived from the work of the five elements of flood risk management of Batica et al. (2013) and the two types of multi-level governance defined by Hooghe and Marks (2003). The findings from the analytical framework include key stakeholders in flood risk management as well as aspects of resilience and response and anticipation in flood risk management. Aspects of resilience in flood risk management strategies comprise Relief, Resist, Response, Recovery and Reflect strategies. The findings are used to analyze the effectiveness of existing strategies and recommend improvements. There are measures for resisting known flood risks, but their implementation is ineffective. Involvement of the local chiefs and key private sector organizations in flood risk management strategies in Accra would allow for advanced resilience regarding their responses to the impacts of land-use changes and the waste disposal in watercourses. This research shows that the effectiveness of flood risk management in Accra depends on implementation and enforcement.