Tamale floods, a reminder of climate change impact

Kamil Sanah, GNA

Accra, July 27, GNA – Dr Bob Offei Manteaw,
Climate Adaptation and Resilience Specialist has urged Government to commit to
Climate Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction by implementing policies and
strategies that would build community resilience.

He said Ghana should also take climate change
and its associated disasters seriously.                                            

Dr Manteaw who is with the Africa Resilience Collaborative
made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Wednesday.

He appealed to the Government to begin the
implementation of climate change policies and strategies to help people,
communities and institutions build their adaptive and resilience capacities.

Talking specifically on the Tamale floods, Dr
Manteaw warned that the occurrence was climate change-induced, adding that,
more of them were to be expected across the country.

He called for collaborative efforts to address
the challenges of climate change.

“The Government has initiated some works on
climate change, no doubt, but it needs to do more. Policies and strategies need
to be moved from shelves in the ministries and into local communities where
climate impacts actually happen.

“Currently in Ghana not many people seem to be
aware of climate change or even understand what risks or impacts it brings to
them,” he said.

Dr Manteaw said the Tamale flood event and the
associated loss of lives and property was unfortunate and should prompt more
focused and concerted actions not only from government but other stakeholders
to avoid future occurrence.

“These floods are neither new nor isolated
cases.  They are almost pervasive now as
most parts of the world, including Ghana, have been experiencing such extreme
floods and very frequently.

“As with the situation in Tamale, when these
events happen all we talk about is how unprecedented they are. We then count
our losses and forget about them when the floods subside and wait for the next
record-breaking one.”

According to him Ghana has fail even to
acknowledge the reality of climate change and the role they play in such
record-braking disasters.

“Ghana and Africa as a whole need to embrace a
new mindset that climate change is a reality and to begin to build resilience.
There is the need to put in place proactive and anticipatory measures to
facilitate adaptation and resilience building.”

Dr Manteaw said: “There is no indication that
people living in their different communities across the country have any
awareness or understanding of issues around climate change and disasters and
how these could impact their lives.”

He said climate change was a collective
problem and required collective responses, adding: “All stakeholders,
individuals, communities, businesses, multi-level governments, agencies,
schools… need to work together.

“Not a lot of these different stakeholders
have a real sense of what climate change could mean to them and the need to
take action.”

Dr Manteaw said there was the need to initiate
and intensify climate change awareness, education and learning.

He said people need to know about climate
change as an emergent reality and to understand its manifestation and this was
not an issue just for the schools but all stakeholders need to begin to learn
about climate change and to build resilience. 

“Apart from the loss of lives and property,
the cost of disruptions, no matter how short, brings tremendous impact to
development processes,” he said.

Dr Manteaw called for new approaches to
address climate change and disaster risk issues at the community level.

He is of the view that the stakeholder pool
the needs to be widened and businesses, especially in the private sector,
should show leadership.

According to him “Climate risks are business
risks” and that all businesses, big or small, should be mindful of the risks
that climate impacts could bring to them.


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