The plights of over 2.5 million residents in and around the Odaw river in Accra will soon be relieved as the World Bank Board of Executive Directors approves a $200 million fund to improve flood risk management in the area.
According to a press release from the Bank copied to ghanabusinessnews.com, the fund will also manage solid waste and improve access to basic infrastructure and services in targeted communities of the Greater Accra Region, (GAR) under the Greater Accra Resilient and Integrated Development (GARID) project.
The project has become necessary because the World Bank has estimated that, about $3.2 billion worth of economic assets are currently at risk of flooding in the region.
The project focuses on the Odaw river basin in the first phase and will be expanded to other priority basins within the region in subsequent phases, supporting a gradual improvement of integrated flood risk management, the release indicated.
The Odaw River Basin is identified as the entry point of the intervention for the first phase given its high flood risk, population, and business density, the release noted.
The release said, the project will indirectly benefit the entire 4.6 million population of the region through improvements in flood warning and response systems, and solid waste management capacity improvements.
The release explained that, the GARID project will directly benefit dense urban settlements and substantial economic activities located downstream of the confluence between the Odaw and the Onyasia streams through the development of upstream flood retention ponds, performance-based dredging in the Odaw river’s main channel and tributaries, and rehabilitation of selected drainage channels and bridges.
It added that, residents of Accra, especially flood prone low-income communities, will greatly benefit from comprehensive infrastructure and services improvements.
“Enhancing infrastructure investment is critical to achieving the World Bank’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity, as well as increasing the resilience of African cities. It will also help address climate vulnerability and inequality by focusing investments on poor neighborhoods in targeted informal settlements, which are at a higher risk of flooding”, Henry Kerali, the World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone was quoted as saying.
Asmita Tiwari, Senior Urban and Disaster Risk Management Specialist and Task Team Leader for the GARID Project noted that, the project will bring an integrated, multi-sectoral, and long-term approach to mitigate perennial flooding impacts in the region, and will, thus, enable higher economic growth, social inclusion, disaster and climate change preparedness, resilient settlements, and environmental sustainability.
“It will, thus, contribute directly to Ghana’s vision of an industrialized high-income country and it’s Medium-Term National Development Framework,” she said.
The interventions under the project are complementary to and integrated with the existing Government, World Bank, and development partners’ operations and technical assistance in the GAR, including the World Bank funded GAMA Sanitation and Water Project and the Land Administration Project 2, the release noted.
The Project preparation was supported by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). In addition, the Netherlands government is providing technical assistance on state of the art, performance-based dredging in the Odaw River Basin. Collective efforts in the GAR are expected to lead to transformative changes on the ground.
By Asabea Akonor