BBC Focus On Africa: How Prepared Is Your City To Deal With Disaster?
1 July 2015. BBC World Service’s radio programme, Focus on Africa, is in Accra, Ghana, with a special edition, one month after devastating floods that claimed more than 150 lives. Co-produced with Joy 99.7 FM and presented by BBC World Service’s Alex Jakana and Joy FM’s Kojo Yankson, Focus on Africa brings together city authorities and planning experts and people directly affected by last month’s disaster to find out how prepared African cities are for such events. The programme will be recorded on Thursday 2 July 2015 and broadcast on Friday 3 July.
The horrific loss of life and injuries recorded during the Accra floods was caused by a fire and an explosion at a petrol station where people had been sheltering from the torrential rain, and may have been avoided had the city been better prepared. Millions of dollars-worth of property was also destroyed. Despite the perception of Ghana as one of Africa’s model countries, this year’s unprecedented loss of life has triggered questions about how prepared its capital city and its emergency services were for the floods which take place every year. Could the disaster and its aftermath have been handled differently?
Other parts of Africa have been affected by flooding this year, with deaths recorded recently in Tanzania and Kenya, where heavy rains brought down a wall and left commuters trapped for hours in the resulting traffic jam. Floods remain a perennial problem in cities such as Lagos in Nigeria.
Alex Jakana says: “Looking at what happened in Accra, some think that the problems are caused by the population growth and migration to the city which leads to overcrowding in some areas. Others blame poor urban planning. All those issues resonate across the continent, and Focus on Africa will look at how prepared African cities are to deal with disasters such as the one that struck Ghana.”
In the run-up to the debate, BBC Africa has posed the following question to audiences: How to solve Ghana’s flooding problem? They will share their thoughts on social media using the hashtag #africasolutions.
This special edition of Focus on Africa will be broadcast by BBC World Service at 19.00 GMT (and Ghanaian Time) on Friday 3 July. The debate will also be online at bbc.com/africa.