Globally, disasters related to climatic changes have progressively affected people’s livelihood, lives and properties (Afornorpe, 2016). Among these natural hazards have negatively affected lives, social, Economic and infrastructure over the last four decades (Munich Reinsurance, 2002). According to Afornorpe (2016) the world has suffered an increasing number of natural disasters over the past ten years. These disasters have resulted from both climatic and non-climatic conditions.
These Disasters including floods have affected more than 2.5 billion people, killing about 500,000 with an estimated economic loss of $700 billion (Foresight OST, 2013; Afornope, 2016).Between the year 2004 and 2008 floods and cyclones accounted for 40% of the reported 1028 major disasters that occurred worldwide (Costello et al, 2009).Africa has also witnessed rising fatalities and displacement directly attributed to flooding. These fatalities from Africa floods increased from less than 20,000 between 1950 and 1969 to almost 160,000 between 1990 and 2009(Di Baldassare et al, 2010). Also, about 2.5 million persons in Africa were displaced in 2007 because of floods that occurred during this period (Tscakart et al, 2010)
The increasing urban population, increasing built surfaces, poverty and poor city infrastructure planning exacerbates vulnerability of cities to flood risks (Bull-Kamanga et al, 2003: Songsore et al 2009; Afornope, 2016). With the rise in world urban populations the urban dwellers at risk to flooding will consequently increase. Globally, between the year 1950 and 2014, the urban population was estimated to have increased by a factor of five from 0.7 billion and 3.9 respectively (UN, 2014).
Several cities are becoming hot spots for floods and other disasters especially in the sub-Saharan Africa. The sub-Saharan has also been reported to have recorded high rates of urbanization, urban poverty, vulnerability and extreme rainfall over the past few decades (OFDA-CRED, 2010). The period 1900 to 2006, floods in cities of Africa killed 20,000 people and affected approximately 40 million people with an estimated damage cost of $ 4 billion (Mulungeta et al, 2007). According to UNDP (2007), about 72% of the urban population in Africa live under informal settlements (slums) and other vulnerable conditions predisposing them to flood disasters.
With the increasing destruction to properties and lives by floods and associated cost prompted the need to put necessary adaptation strategies in place. According to Mulungeta et al (2007), the efforts at reducing vulnerabilities associated with flood disasters among informal settlements and other vulnerable locations in African urban communities by individuals, private entities and government have not yielded much success. Since the early 1930s, Ghana has recorded enormous flood disasters (Karley, 2009).Some of the causes of these floods disasters were intense rainfall, run off dams burst and tidal wave; with the tidal wave mostly occurring around the low-lying coastal areas in Ghana. Most at times, natural factors have been known to be the causes of the flood disasters in Ghana but anthropogenic factors in recent times have also aggravated the situation further( Karley 2009; Songsore et al; Osei 2013).
In 2010, about 50% of Ghana’s population were estimated to be living in cities. The increase in urban population have not commensurate with the increasing infrastructure development; this has led to many town and cities witnessing uncontrolled developments in informal settlements with its associated vulnerability that predisposes settlers to flood and other environmental risks( Afornorpe,2016). In the year 2001, it was estimated that about 5 million persons were living in informal settlements in urban Ghana, coupled with its growing population at the rate of 1.8% per annum (NDPC, 2005). Most these population live in substandard housing in hazardous prone areas to flooding and other natural disasters (Fatti and Patel 2013, Braun and Abheuer 2011; Jabeen et al 2010, Songsore et al 2009, Yankson an Owusu 2007).
With the increasing rate of urbanization in Ghana coupled with its high rate of informal settlements in areas liable to floods therefore is makes the urban centres much vulnerable to flood risks.
Globally, between the year 2004 and 2008, out of the 1028 major disasters reported, floods and tropical cyclones accounted for about 40% of it. (Costello et al 2009).
In Africa, fatalities from floods was estimated to have increased from about 20,000 in 1950-1969 to almost 160,000 between 1990 and 2009(Di Baldassare et al,2010). According Tschakert et al ( 2010) about 2.5 million persons have been displaced in Africa because of flooding.
In Ghana, flooding is now one of the major environmental issues within the Accra metropolitan area (Rain et al). Since the early 1930s, Ghana has recorded enormous flood disasters (Karley 2009). Significant recordings of these flooding was witnessed in 1955, 1960, 1963, 1973, 1986, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2010, 2011 (Twumasi and Asomani-Boateng 2002; Karley 2009; Rain et al. 2011) and recently in June 2015 in the Accra Metropolis.
According Karley (2009) a quarter of the Accra population lives in flood prone areas or areas liable to flood. Aboagye (2008) also noted that flooding is not only limited to the communities within the Accra metropolitan area but rather the households living in these communities also bear the effects of flooding after moderate to heavy rainfall. Songsore et al., 2009; Karley, 2009 also outlined that the Factors that account for the perennial floods in Accra are as a result of both natural and anthropogenic.
It was chronicled in the daily graphic newspaper that on 28 June 2001, the city of Accra was submerged as a result of an early morning downpour affecting Houses and structures like stores in madina, achimota, Dzorwulu, Avenor, Santa Maria and Odorkor official town. Many residents were displaced and others that were trapped by the flood water had to climb to safety on trees and rooftops as an early coping strategy until the flood water level was subsided. Many properties ranging from electronics, cloths, and other grocessories in households and minisuper markets were destroyed. Some Affected residents lamented that their gutters are too small which needed to be expanded, other trapped residents on rooftop blamed the government agencies like Ghana national fire services and National disaster management organization for being negligence to their plight when they called on them.
Furthermore, on 26th October 2011, out of over 43,000 residents who were affected by flooding in Accra about 17000 of them lost their place of residence and 14 people died. Many roads and bridges were destroyed as a result of the flooding. Also, it was reported that, there was an outbreak of cholera with in the Accra Metropolis with over one hundred cases recorded (UNEP/OCHA, 2011). In an interview with the national coordinator for NADMO he outlined that aside the natural causes of urban floods human factors also contribute enormously to it. He justified this by stating that, “Poor planning resulting from lack of co-ordination, illegal structures as well as undersized hydraulic structures, designing problems, rapid changes in land use patterns due to urbanization, development of settlement in water courses and flood plains were some other causes of floods” (UNEP/OCHA, 2011; Afornorpe, 2016).
According to Agyemang (2013), about seven million dollars have been spent by the government of Ghana to help restore, rebuild and resettle people who were affected by floods between the year 2007 and 2011.These therefore affected the government’s budget in the long run resulting in balance of payment deficit, since these unplanned effects were never budgeted.
According, UNCT (2015) on 3rd June 2015, a heavy downpour in Accra claimed over 152 lives as a GOIL Fuel Station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle was exploded. This disaster brought all economic activities in the capital to halt by way of destroying buildings, vehicles and other infrastructures within the catchment area. Also other victims of the disaster sustained various degrees of injuries. A relief of fifty million Ghana was released by then President of the republic of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama to flood victims and partly for clearing waterways and drainage. This disaster was attributed to the heavy downpour, poor sanitation and poor city planning and enforcement among other factors. (Afornorpe, 2016)
Perennial flooding in the Accra Metropolitan is now becoming inevitable, since flood forecasting is non-existent and monitoring is apparently not available, despite the Ghana metrological services warnings on rainstorms. Also, with city planners faced with huge tasks of developing new schemes in addressing future consequences of flood disasters with in the metropolis. There is now the need for additional research on urban flooding in Ghana to unravel the role of the various aforementioned factors that contribute to the vulnerability of the urban populace to flood risks in the Accra Metropolitan areas. As such this study seeks to assess the vulnerability of some selected communities within the Accra Metropolitan area to flood risks
In relation to the above problems, the study raises various questions with focus the causes of floods, vulnerable communities to flood risks and their adaptation strategies they adopted. The study therefore try to obtain answers for the following specific questions;
i. What are the reasons for the different perceptions on the causes of flooding in the Accra Metropolitan Area?
ii. What are the negative effects of floods on the socio-economic livelihood of residents of Kaneshie, Nima, Tesano and Abeka in the Accra Metropolitan area
iii. What are the flood risk areas in the Accra metropolitan area
iv. What adaptation strategies are adopted to reduce the vulnerability to flood risks?
The general objective of the study was to assess the vulnerability of some selected communities in the Accra Metropolitan area to flood risks. In other expatiate the general objective, specific objectives were set. The specific objective of the study are to;
i. Analyse the underlying causes of flooding in the Accra metropolitan Area.
ii. Identify the negative effects of floods on the socio-economic livelihood of residents of Kaneshie, Tesano, Nima and Abeka in the Metropolitan area.
iii. To create a flood risk map of Accra metropolitan area using relief and drainage as indicators.
iv. Assess resident’s adaptation strategies adopted to reduce their vulnerability to flood risk
Proposition to the study
i. Communities with informal settlements on waterways, poor sanitation and poor drainage causes flooding in the Accra metropolitan area.
ii. There are negative effects of flooding on the livelihood of the residents of the Accra Metropolitan area.
iii. Flood disaster is a predominant disaster in some communities than others in the metropolitan area
iv. Adaptation to flood disaster is more of a reactive approach.