Stakeholders meet to discuss extreme weather events in Ghana

Stakeholders have joined efforts to investigate the impact of flooding and extreme heat on urban infrastructure and its resultant effects on the livelihoods of poor urban residents in the country.

The project titled “Vulnerability to Extreme Weather Events in Cities (VEWEC)”, seeks to investigate and suggest adaptive ways of mitigating the challenges that comes with extreme weather events such as flooding and extreme heat.

The cities of Accra and Tamale, with their differing climates, urban form and size, infrastructure and governance systems, would provide contrasting cases within one national context for the project.

At a stakeholder workshop held in Accra, Professor Sam Agyei-Mensah, the Provost of College of Humanities at the University of Ghana (UG), said the project is a laudable idea especially because of the interlinkages between the key sectors.

Professor Agyei-Mensah, who is also the Project Advisor sharing his experiences from London, South East Asia and Uganda, reiterated that the VEWEC project provided a good context to salvage negatives of extreme weather events.

He said much was known about what was happening elsewhere but in Accra, not much was known about the extreme weather events and this is the time to hold such discussions.

He said it is significant that stakeholders are looking at water, electricity and health in an inter-connected investigation.

Dr Ebenezer Amankwa of the Department of Geography and Resource Development at UG said the 16-month project which would commence investigations in January 2018 started on September.

He said at the end of the project lives would be saved because “we are going to predict rainfall patterns, people will be more aware of when rains maybe coming in, they can be more prepared and at least they can be more proactive in their mitigation and adaptive strategies.”

Dr Amankwa said “we are going to improve infrastructure performance once we know the type of infrastructure that are affected by these extreme weather events”.

At least we can also inform service providers as to how to manage some of the services and how much rainfall can affect some of these infrastructures.

At the end of everything, we are looking at how all these things are affecting people’s livelihood and so once we are able to be more prepared, we can assist with the way people can go on with their businesses and have their daily means of survival,” Dr Amankwa said.

He said the overriding goal is to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, with the idea that we make the world a safer place for humanity.

Professor Katherine Gough of the Loughborough University  in the United Kingdom (UK) said the main aims of the project are: to refine methods for mapping ‘hotspots’ of vulnerability and predicting flooding and extreme heat in cities by drawing on existing climate data.

She said it is also to among others examine the impact of flooding and extreme heat on water, electricity and health services and analyse the impact of reduced service levels during extreme weather events on the income-generating activities of the urban poor;

The Project Investigators are Professors Paul Yankson and Sam Cudjoe of UG and Dr Amankwa and Dr Raymond Kasei of the University of Development Studies in Tamale.

The rest are Professor Gough, Professors Paula Griffiths, Rob Wilby, Sam Kayaga all of the Loughborough University in UK.

The Project Advisors are Professor David Simon of the Royal Holloway University in the UK and Professor Agyei-Mensah.

Source: GNA

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