Participants and officials at the event in Accra. Picture: CALEB VANDERPUYE
Participants and officials at the event in Accra. Picture: CALEB VANDERPUYE

6 Countries collaborate to share information on flooding

Six West African countries within the Volta River Basin (VRB) are collaborating to scale up the Urban Flash Flood Forecasting System (UFFFS) to facilitate prompt dissemination of information on flooding across those countries.

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The UFFFS is a system that utilises data from satellites, weather radar and other sources to forecast flash floods in urban areas. It was implemented in three-pilot cities, including Tamale in the Northern Region.

Experts in flood control from meteorological agencies of the six countries VRB – Ghana, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Cote d'Ivoire, who are attending a three-day workshop in Accra, will share experiences from their national and regional perspectives.

It will also enable them to work together to monitor and forecast on hydro-meteorological events and warning services.

Context

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) is implementing the Volta Flood and Drought Management (VFDM) project in collaboration with the Volta Basin Authority and Global Water Partnership (GWP) West Africa, with the title, "Integrating Flood and Drought Management and Early Warning for Climate Change Adaptation in the Volta Basin."

The project activities which started in June 2019, are expected to end on June 23, 2024. It is being funded by the adaptation Fund 

Significance

The acting Director-General of GMet, Dr Eric Asuman, said the workshop was important because it had provided a platform for experts from the six countries in the Volta Basin to test the tools that had been developed, review, improve upon and scale up to cover the rest of the cities in these basin countries.

He added that the tool would help GMet and other meteorological agencies in the participating countries to send relevant forecast that would help people take necessary precautions and actions to mitigate the effects of the floods.

Dr Asuman underscored the need for strategic investment and sustainable management of resources in the VRB to ensure the building of resilience to floods, other losses and damages associated with climate change.

Outcomes

The VFDM Project Manager, Ramesh Tripathi, said one of the main outcomes of the project was the development of flood and drought early warning system for the entire Volta Basin region.

“This early warning system is to be used in terms of dissemination of warning bulletins to various stakeholders, including population, disaster management, power, transport, agriculture sectors and to improve livelihoods,” he said.

Mr Tripathi added that the project would provide timely warning messages at least six or 12 hours in advance to help save lives and property.

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