Editorial: The floods

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The rains came down yesterday and, as usual, some parts of the city got flooded, One person has been confirmed dead at Odawna after the over-five hours of flooding in Accra.

Over the years, residents of low-lying areas across the country, particularly in the Greater Accra Region, have experienced flooding whenever it rains; which has often destroyed lives and property.

Even though there has been education on good sanitation practices, some people continue to litter the environment – including the dumping of refuse into drains.

A visit around the regional capital, Accra, showed that there are no refuse dumps along the streets, while a number of drains are still choked with filth.

Government conducts flood education campaigns annually before the rainy season. But in the country’s flood-prone informal settlements, where about 62% of the urban population reside, floods still have devastating consequences,

It is sad that residents in the capital go through this ritual every year. If forecasts are anything to go by, it is imperative that we channel some of our energies toward ensuring the capital is safe for residents.

There’s a need to revisit this one-way information flow, and instead encourage dialogue between experts and the public. This can happen when public authorities build good relationships with communities. A sustained relationship builds trust. This could in turn give communities the confidence to share experiences of their response to floods.

Some study results showed that providing flood information to the public instigates discussion among community members, but has little impact on preventive action. It’s more persuasive when the public is actively engaged in discussions with experts on flood risk preparedness. This should be on transparent and open platforms where experts readily address people’s doubts and uncertainties.

The study revealed that regular engagements between experts and the public are opportunities to clarify messages, seek additional information and build trust. This can influence positive behavioural changes in terms of flood-preparedness.

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