Other places in Ghana get flooded annually but only #AccraFloods gets attention. I found out these places.
On the 9th of June 2016, Accra got flooded. This has become an annual disaster. Every year, the capital gets flooded and #AccraFloods trends on social media network.
This issue is bigger than Accra. The floods are not happening only in Accra, though. It’s all over the country.
Akyaa Nkrumah of Green Ghanaian put together this Table of Ghanas floods to prove that other places in Ghana are also getting flooded and need equally serious attention. How does it look on Ghanas map? Lets have a look.
Which other places are getting flooded?
Between March, 2016 and July, 2016 there were about 23 unique cases of floods around the country reported by the media, mostly radio stations. Within that period, 7 region capitals experienced floods.
It appears that, there is a North-South divide. Areas in Northern Ghana and Southern Ghana are experiencing floods. There is little occurrence in the Volta Basin area (around Lake Volta). This could be because of the Lake. The area around it serves as a huge bowl(if you like) which collects water from its surrounding areas: a watershed. This prevents water from building up, preventing floods.
This is how the Odo River running through Accra is meant to function. It’s crucial to Flood prevention in the capital. Unfortunately, it’s been filled with solid waste, narrowing its channel and reducing its ability to collect enough rain water to prevent floods: #AccraFloods.
There has been a trend this year: our regional capitals are getting flooded. This points to a serious lack of proper planning of our cities. Up North, all 3 regional capitals (Wa, Bolgatanga &Tamale) experienced floods this year. In the South, 4 regional capitals did (Accra, Cape Coast, Kumasi & Ho).
As at now : 5007 displaced, 14 dead & 9 injured in these flood areas between March, 2016 and July, 2016. It could actually be more because the National Disaster Management Organisation(NADMO) have done a poor job at collating actual statistics of these incidents.
So what does this mean for Ghana?
We simply are not planning our cities well enough. Permitting houses to be constructed across waterways, with ever increasing urban population is showing with the flooding trend.
Proper planning of our capitals/ towns/cities is crucial. Institutions like Town Planners and various Metropolitan/Assemblies need long term town planning schemes formulated and enforced.
Put structures in place to ensure its followed through with new executives. Preventing it is necessary.
Why is it important to know other flooded areas apart from Accra?
It allows for better resource allocation by NADMO.
Within the March 2016 and July 2016 period, the Northern Regions experienced most of its floods from early part of March to the early May and the latter part of July.
For regions in the South like Central and Greater Accra, late May through June was when most of the floods it experienced occurred.
NADMO recurring theme of not having enough relief/ resources anytime disaster strikes reflects the need to be better resourced, but it also means they need better resource allocations.
That is what tracking where these incidents occur affords us. For instance, if Tamale desperately needs resources in July (because that is a time it experiences floods) but most of it is in Accra because NADMO did not track and anticipate it early enough to shift resources to the North before it happens, it reduces our ability to limit post-flood damages.
Tracking these incidents further strengthens our position as a country to know which places need the preventive measures stated earlier.
Plastic pollution is a big issue. The blame running through most flood incidences this year, regardless of the region has been choked gutters or far too few number of gutters in the first place.
In some ways, this goes back to how we plan our cities, but pollution has a place in this as well.
Things like the National Sanitation Day is tiny step forward, but it should be normal to clean our environment and dispose off the waste well.
These don’t apply to only Tamale or Kumasi, but every part of Ghana.
These floods have become an annual disaster regardless of the place in Ghana. We need to find long term solutions to reduce human-caused flooding as much as possible. We deserve better.
All the data and code used can be found here.