The Rapid Disaster Waste Management Assessment took place during 1-11 November 2011 following an official request by the Ghanaian authorities to the United Nations Resident Coordinator. Through its network of the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit mobilized a waste management expert from by MSB Sweden. The assessment followed the flash flooding of the 26th of October in 2011. The flooding was caused by excessive precipitation (100 mm) that fell over Accra region. Even though the rains and floods are perennial this heavy rain fell outside the normal rain season. Peak rainfall was recorded at night. Since the overall preparedness for a flood in late October was low, the effect of the flood was pertinent.
The damages in loss of life, loss of livelihood, loss of economic value have so far been summarized to about 43 000 people affected, about 17 000 people lost their homes, 14 people have been killed during the flooding or as an effect of the flooding.
During the time of assessment (1-11 November), the acute phase of the flooding was over and the Government of Ghana, Accra Municipal Assembly, the UN and NGO’s started focusing on the aftermath of the flooding.
The flooding caused the affected communities to discharge massive amount of waste generated from the flooding during a short period of time. It also caused environmental stress such as bringing waste from river and channels to the Odaw Channel and into Korle Lagoon. The flooding also caused hygienic pollution from sewage polluted water within the inundated areas. An increase of cholera incidents has been reported one week after the flooding.
Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) measures needs to be taken in order to reduce the flood risk and effects on waste management due to the flood risk. It is important, however, to consider the findings within the larger context of the environmental stress already in place, the lack of proper solid waste management and the lack of sewage treatment in Accra.
With the support of the UN system, the Government of Ghana has developed a five-year National Plan of Action on Disaster Risk Reduction. The plan deals with both natural and man made hazards.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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