Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has demolished over 360 unauthorised structures on waterways as efforts to reduce floods in the metropolis.
Mr Alfred Vanderpuije, Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive, who said this on Tuesday, attributed the reduction of floods in Accra this year to efforts of stakeholders.
These are Hydrological Services Department and National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) who organised extensive exercises, constructed new drains and de-silted choked drains.
This was contained in a speech read on his behalf at the opening of a three-day ECOWAS Regional Awareness and Sensitisation Workshop on integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in development policies of countries in the sub-region.
The workshop, co-hosted by NADMO and ECOWAS Commission, attracted 60 participants from Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Gambia, Niger, La Cote d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Mali.
The participants were experts and focal persons on disaster risk management as well as donor communities and expected to come out with early warning and response network on disasters and plans to reduce vulnerability to Climate Change in West Africa.
Mr Vanderpuije noted that Ghana, like any other country was not immune to disasters adding she had suffered from various types of disasters including earthquakes, fires, floods, army worm invasion and disease epidemic like H1N1 influenza.
He pointed out that floods in Accra had been a major concern to government as well as the assembly, noting that last year eight lives were lost in Accra due to floods.
Mr Vanderpuije said most of the floods were caused by human activities including citing of buildings and poorly engineered drains, increase in growth of population and corresponding generation of waste, some of which were deposited in drains.
The Accra Mayor said incorporating disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation in Ghana's development agenda was not an option but a principal requirement for sustainable national socio-economic development.
He said Ghana had not lost sight of risk associated with climate change adding "global warming resulting in erratic patterns pre-disposes us to more climate related disasters."
Mr Vanderpuije therefore challenged participants to come out with workable strategies that would make the sub-region adapt better effects of climate change and reduce the devastating effects of natural and man-made disasters.
"It is my hope that this forum would create a platform to share ideas and best practices within the sub-region," he added.
Mr Martin A.B.K. Amidu, Minister for the Interior, lauded ECOWAS Commission for supporting Ghana last year during the country's wide spread floods that claimed more than 20 lives and affected several thousands of people thereby resulting in economic losses.
Mr Amidu said reports all over the world indicated that disasters were increasing and the sub-region's situation was not different.
He said there was an urgent need for countries to incorporate Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in their developmental agenda if they were to reduce the impact of disasters and achieve sustainable development.
Mr Amidu called for collaboration and cooperation from all stakeholders in the management of disasters.
He said government had adopted Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Risk Management (CCRM) as integral part of an overall National Development Strategy.
The strategy, Mr Amidu said, had been initiated on pilot schemes in 10 districts and would be replicated in other parts of the country.
Mr Kofi Portuphy, National Coordinator of NADMO, said with the advent of climate change, it was important for member countries to increase awareness in risk management in order to build a formidable and safe place in the sub-region.
Dr Daniel Eklu, Director of Humanitarian and Social Services of ECOWAS Commission noted that West Africa, although had been committed to its socio-economic development based on their natural resources, it remained the poorest in the regions affected by climate change.
He appealed to member states to integrate disaster risk management and climate change in their respective developmental agenda to avert losses of lives and property.
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