The National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) in collaboration with the Greater Accra Resilient and Integrated Development (GARID) Project has conducted desktop flood simulation exercises in five Municipalities within the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area to assess the readiness of the selected Assemblies to respond to incidence of flooding and reduce the impacts of flood disaster along the Odaw drain.
The exercise which was carried out in the Korle Klottey, Ayawaso East, West, Central and North Municipalities, began with different flood disaster scenarios sent from the NADMO Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) to Disaster Management Committees of the participating Municipalities. The committees then discussed the practical ways to respond to the different scenarios, identifying the equipment and personnel needed to ensure effective execution of the response process.
In discussing the response activities, the team were able to establish specific areas where strengthening was needed to optimise operational responses for flood disasters. The simulation exercise also drew out the coordination challenges that were not evident under the contingency planning exercise undertaken earlier.
Speaking at the debriefing session after the exercise, the Coordinator of the GARID Project, Dr Kwadwo Ohene Sarfoh, entreated the participants to use the lessons learnt from the exercise to improve flood risk management in their respective Municipalities. “It is our expectation that the lessons learnt from this exercise will help ensure efficient communication and coordination among the Municipal Disaster Management Committees that will lead to early and effective response to flood events along the Odaw River catchment,” he said. Dr. Sarfoh announced that the GARID Project is establishing a Flood Early Warning System (FEWS) which will complement the efforts of the Committees by providing early warning to residents in flood-prone areas about impending floods to enable quicker relocation to safe havens before a flood event.
The Climate Change and Adaptation Director of NADMO, Mrs. Charlotte Norman, thanked the GARID Project for its support for the exercise. She acknowledged that the contingency planning and flood simulation exercises were critical ingredients for NADMO in strengthening response capacity. She indicated that the exercise helped the participating Municipalities to identify personnel and logistical gaps, critical locations, and infrastructure vulnerable to flood within the Municipal Assemblies (MAs). Mrs. Norman said the exercise will promote regular testing and improve flood disaster response processes in the MAs”.
Participants expressed satisfaction about the exercise saying it had brought to the fore the operational and logistical gaps in the Municipalities that need to be addressed to ensure effective emergency response. The Ayawaso East Municipal Director of NADMO, Mohammed Idrisu, noted “My team and I have now better appreciated the importance of flood risk vulnerability maps and the need for periodic update of the Municipal Flood Risk Contigency Plan.”
The flood simulation exercise is one of the measures the GARID Project is putting in place to improve flood disaster preparedness of the beneficiary Assemblies.