Final workshop unveils results of Ghana’s National Disaster Preparedness Baseline Assessment

June 27, 2024
By: Chani Goering

Accra, Ghana–Following a year-long collaboration to assess disaster risk and preparedness among Ghana’s diverse communities, key stakeholders reunited on June 26, 2024, to participate in the National Disaster Preparedness Baseline Assessment Final Workshop and Exchange.

The workshop was held at the Accra Marriott Hotel and attended by Ghana’s key government agencies, community leaders, civil and military groups, and academic, scientific, and nongovernmental organizations. The event was also attended by a delegation of disaster management experts from the University of Hawai’i’s Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) who partnered with Ghana’s national disaster management organization, NADMO, to conduct the assessment.

“It is our greatest quest to mainstream disaster risk reduction into all national developmental programs and activities. In line with this, a comprehensive sector assessment, with a key focus on response agencies is seen to aid our understanding and efforts for holistic national development programming. We are grateful once more to the United States and the PDC for granting our request for technical support towards the Disaster Preparedness Baseline Assessment.”

—Director General of Ghana’s NADMO, Hon. Eric Nana Agyemang-Prempeh

Pictured above: Director General of Ghana’s NADMO, Hon. Eric Nana Agyemang-Prempeh

The final assessment results were previewed by stakeholders for the first time during the workshop, providing new insights into current risks and vulnerabilities and the landscape of hazards anticipated from climate change. The assessment also included a comprehensive disaster management analysis and a five-year plan of prioritized actions to build national resilience and help mitigate disaster impacts.

During the workshop, stakeholders shared knowledge and identified additional data to be included in the final report.

Ghana stakeholders review the results of the year-long National Disaster Preparedness Baseline Assessment conducted by PDC in partnership with NADMO and provide feedback.

“Globally, we are facing a ticking climate time bomb and must accelerate a whole-of-society approach to prepare for the hazards ahead. As climate-related disasters continue to rise in frequency and severity, PDC has accelerated our work with partners around the world on the national baseline assessment to provide the tools and information needed to face these challenges.”

—PDC’s Executive Director Ray Shirkhodai who presented during the final workshop event in Accra, Ghana

“The baseline assessment emphasizes a partnership-based approach to disaster risk reduction, bringing communities together across sectors to better understand risks and identify the most impactful actions and investments to build resilience. Our inclusive approach creates a comprehensive understanding of the issues and ensures all communities and sectors of society are actively engaged in the process.The system also features the world’s only early warning and alerting for floods, wildfires, and landslides at a global scale—hazards that are on the rise for Ghana due to changes in the climate,” said Shirkhodai.

Data and results from Ghana’s national baseline assessment are scaled down to a subnational level to reflect the unique needs and concerns of each community. The information is also made available through PDC’s world-class early warning and risk intelligence platform, DisasterAWARE.

Pictured above: A snapshot of PDC’s climate change projections for the year 2050 provided as part of the assessment.

DisasterAWARE centralizes disparate data from multiple agencies, streamlining access to critical information for disaster management planning, preparedness, response, and mitigation. This strategy has also been proven to enhance efficiency and comprehension of risk information during emergencies, facilitating more informed decision-making and coordinated responses.

The system also features the world’s only early warning and alerting for floods, wildfires, and landslides at a global scale—all of which are on the rise for Ghana due to changes in the climate.

Ghana currently faces a multitude of other adverse impacts from climate change including increased frequency of extreme weather events, biodiversity loss and failure of crops, water scarcity, sea-level rise and coastal erosion, and ongoing health risks to name just a few.

Ghana’s national baseline assessment results and recommendations were delivered only eight months after the worst flooding disaster in Ghana’s history—the Akosombo Dam spillage (a deliberate release of water)—in which the flood gates of the dam were opened to release water pressure onto communities below in the Lower Volta River. The event was triggered by unprecedented rainfall, an extreme weather event linked to climate change. The dam spillage caused the displacement of more than 39,333 people downstream and affected more than 80,000 people in total. While no lives were lost, the loss of personal property and destruction of businesses in the Lower Volta River region were catastrophic.

“Our partnership with the Pacific Disaster Center on the national baseline assessment is one of many recent initiatives by NADMO to transition from a reactive to a proactive approach as we face new and emerging risks resulting from climate change. From the full-scale exercises conducted with our U.S. partners that engaged hundreds of Ghanaians to the tools and information we have received through our collaboration with PDC, we continue to ensure we are better prepared to face the challenges of tomorrow,” said NADMO’s Director General Agyemang-Prempeh.

“Yet, our work is not complete. Everyone must do their part.

This includes support from policymakers to formalize national disaster management legislation and the dedication of funding for the vitally important work to mitigate disasters and improve operations.

We also solicit the help of our regional and international partners. We cannot do this alone. The future is in our hands and together we can, and must, create a safer Ghana and world.”

According to the Director General, NADMO and PDC plan to continue working together to support similar regional initiatives on disaster response and early warning beyond the completion of the assessment.

The final report for Ghana’s National Disaster Preparedness Baseline Assessment will be available once final workshop feedback in incorporated at www.pdc.org/ndpba.

About PDC

Winner of the 2022 UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction, the University of Hawai’i’s Pacific Disaster Center is a global leader in disaster risk reduction. Recognized for its National Disaster Preparedness Baseline Assessment, the Center is helping nations worldwide operationalize the goals of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and Sustainable Development Goals. For more than 28 years, PDC has enabled its partners with indispensable tools and insights to support evidence-based decision-making. The innovative applications of the Center’s science, technology, and advanced analytics continue to grow in demand as PDC works with diverse communities to save lives and build resilience for a safer world.

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