Place-Based Assessment of Intersection of Biophysical and Social Vulnerability to Flooding in Accra, Ghana

Place-Based Assessment of Intersection of Biophysical and Social Vulnerability to Flooding in Accra, Ghana

Dacosta Aboagye (Department of Geography and Rural Development, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana), Elvis Attakora-Amaniampong (Department of Real Estate and Land Management, University for Development Studies, Wa, Ghana) and Ebenezer Owusu-Sekyere (Department of Development Studies, University for Development Studies, Wa, Ghana)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJAGR.2020010104
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The relationship between flood hazards and social vulnerability is firmly on the intellectual agenda of geographers in Ghana. In an attempt to theorize and empirically examine this relationship, scholars have commonly followed a one-sided methodological strand. In this article, a triple-helix approach that relies on the application of social vulnerability index; mapping potential flood hazard zones; and examining degree of coincidence between flood hazards and social vulnerability, is used. Situating the analysis within Hazards-of-Place Model of Vulnerability, the study identifies spatial disparities in biophysical and social vulnerability within the City. It emerged that communities in the Ashiedu Keteke sub-metro were the most vulnerable based on the hazards-of-place model. Significantly, while flood risk awareness was very high among community members, the perception of flood risk management was poor. The study argues that understanding place-based vulnerability is crucial in mitigating the effect of hazards and building resilient communities.
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Recent geographical debates on Ghana’s disaster profile shows a connection between anthropogenic factors and disaster severity. For instance, Ghana’s National Disaster Management Organization - NADMO (2017) recognizes road traffic accidents and inter-tribal conflicts as claiming more lives (usually over 3000) per annum than deaths from all-natural disasters put together. This notwithstanding, counter arguments dominating the disaster literature posit that the lethal reputation of natural disasters in Ghana can be much more monumental but mostly, they go unnoticed. Arguments reinforcing the devastating effects of natural disasters often cite how perennial flooding over the past decades have claimed several lives and destroyed infrastructure and property than any other form of disasters (Table 1).

Table 1.
Select incidence of flooding in Accra
DateDeath TollPeople Affected
May, 1995145700,000
September, 199952324,602
August, 200756332,600
October, 201045-
June, 2015159-

Source: Okyere et al., 2012; EM-DAT, 2015; Asumadu-Sarkodie et al., 2015

The main objective of this paper is to contribute to existing literature by taking a deeper look at how the intersection of geophysical events and social vulnerability amplify or attenuate the impact of floods in Accra. Specifically, the paper determines the degree of coincidence between flood hazard and social vulnerability, and analyzes the awareness and perception of residents of the identified sub-metro on flood risk.

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