Tamale floods, a reminder of climate change impact

Dr Bob Offei Manteaw

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.

Source: GNA

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