Developing Disaster Risk Management Approaches for Climate Risks

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The Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) suffers from rain-related floods almost every year. This development is likely the result of several factors, including a rapid expansion of sealed-off surface, unplanned urbanization, weak infrastructure, inefficient waste collection and disposal system, as well as a changing climate with more intense rainfall events compared with earlier decades. GAMA is the economic hub of Ghana and is made of 16 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies with an estimated 5.1 million inhabitants – making it the seventh largest metropolitan area in Africa.

The severe flood event of 2015 served as a wake-up call to many stakeholders. It was reported as among the ten deadliest disasters worldwide in 2015, affected 52,622 people with 150 deaths recorded. Damage to infrastructure totaled US$55 million, and rebuilding costs are estimated at US$105 million.

The disaster has already led to a variety of activities that should lead to better flood risk management. So far, these activities have focused on data collection and analysis, infrastructure improvements and capacity building. Risk transfer, as a component of an integrated Disaster Risk Management (iDRM) approach has not yet been looked at, even though it is obvious to do. Since extremely weather events cannot be totally avoided, some residual risks will remain whatever preventive measures you apply.

Municipalities in GAMA face significant challenges to finance reconstruction work after floods. Chronic cash constraints mean that reconstruction of non-critical infrastructure is often delayed or not undertaken at all, which negatively affects the living conditions and the economy of the affected areas. Therefore, a risk transfer solution as part of an iDRM could help speed up reconstruction through the swift disbursement of claim pay-outs after an event.