Ghana Floods Flash Appeal 2007
During the months of August and early September 2007, heavy rainfall led to severe flooding in several West African countries resulting in the loss of lives, displacement of vulnerable persons and the destruction of key infrastructure, food stocks and livestock throughout the region. The most recent regional estimates indicate that as many as 632,326 people have been affected by the floods in Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Togo, Mali, The Gambia, Niger, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Mauritania, Sierra Leone and Benin.The floods coincide with the most critical time of the year, the lean season when West African families - mostly in the Sahel region - face food insecurity. Thus, the destruction of crop and food stocks has aggravated the vulnerability of poor families and needs to be addressed promptly through emergency and recovery interventions.
Among the key challenges in the region are to ensure access to affected populations and to contain the rising threat of epidemics. The humanitarian community must pursue a dual approach of responding to urgent needs, while at the same time averting further deterioration of the situation. Access to affected population is impeded by the destruction of key infrastructure (Ghana), poor road conditions (Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger), and insecurity (Iferouane, northern Niger). The situation in Iferouane is particularly worrying, as humanitarian actors struggle to respond to the needs of some 500 persons affected by floods and food insecurity. An additional concern is the reported presence of new landmines being laid around the city.
At present, three countries are among the worst affected by the floods; Ghana, Burkina Faso and Togo. This appeal currently focuses on emergency needs in Ghana, where excessive rainfall coupled with the spillage of excess water from the Bagre Reservoir in Burkina Faso has resulted in extensive floods in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions. The floods have caused severe damage in these regions, including the loss of livestock, the destruction of farmlands, houses, bridges, schools and health facilities, as well as damage to the water supply, irrigation systems, food storage and processing facilities. There are also some small but badly affected areas in other regions of the country, particularly the Western Region. These affected areas were identified by the Government just before publishing this appeal, so assistance needs in these regions will be reflected in a revised appeal.
Floods are a common feature in Ghana hence certain community coping mechanisms are in place. However, it was this year’s combination of cumulative events (the prolonged dry spell, abnormal torrential rains and the spillage of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso) that caused the humanitarian situation. Coping mechanisms have been overwhelmed and an already very vulnerable population has been severely affected.
The Government of Ghana, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the United Nations, the Red Cross Movement, religious groups and private entities have provided much needed life saving assistance to affected populations in the most devastated areas. However, a recent joint assessment mission revealed an urgent need to boost assistance in order to: (a) avoid a further deterioration of the humanitarian situation; (b) help normalise the food security situation; and (c) complement efforts to restore livelihoods.
Significantly, most of the affected areas were socio-economically vulnerable prior to the floods. The floods have thus triggered a rapid deterioration of existing vulnerabilities that needs to be addressed in parallel with life saving interventions. Such concerted emergency and recovery action remains critical to ensuring that needs are adequately met. Constant monitoring will be undertaken to ensure that the appeal remains pertinent, and that relevant and timely adjustments to the current response strategy are made.
Although NGOs have participated in the humanitarian strategy formulation and response, they have not yet presented projects for inclusion in the appeal. The main reason for this is that the Country Team in Ghana is unaccustomed to emergency response and to the requirements of humanitarian reform, whereby the United Nations is committed to working more closely with NGOs as strategic partners. This will be fully rectified in a revised edition in the coming weeks. The establishment of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is expected to help consolidate the humanitarian partnership.
Humanitarian stakeholders through this appeal will focus on the following priority sectors:
- Food Security including Nutrition;
- Water, Sanitation and Hygiene;
- Common Services;
- Sustainable Livelihoods;
- Coordination and Information Management.
This Flash Appeal requests a total amount of US$ 9,913,136 (net requirements) to sustain and improve the ongoing efforts to urgently address key humanitarian and limited early recovery needs for the 75,000 most affected persons during the next six months.