Several communities in Northern Ghana are pronounced flood prone, owing mainly to the low-lying nature of the area. Floods in this part of the country are perennial thereby increasing the vulnerability of the people in the area to infections, illness, loss of livelihoods, lack of farmlands and school closures.

Besides, access to poor water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services pose yet another key public health challenge for flood prone areas in Northern Ghana. With only about 10% of the population said to use improved sanitation facilities, and high cases of open defecation, the situation is worrisome. For the people, “issues of water and sanitation can be life threatening, especially when disaster occurs” says the Country Representative of the UNFPA, Mr. Niyi Ojuolape. Further buttressing the seriousness of the situation, Dr. Eric Moukoro, the Programme Manager, UN-Habitat , said “when it floods, the water washes the poor WASH facilities into the streams, rivers and un-elevated and poorly built hand-dug wells thereby contaminating the very source of their drinking water”, a situation that makes the people in the North susceptible to several health hazards.

To address this daunting poor sanitation menace, and support the people to build resilient WASH facilities that can prevent vulnerability to natural disaster in the area, the United Nations in Ghana, represented by four agencies, namely, UN-Habitat, UNICEF, UNDP and WHO implemented the UN Water and Sanitation in Disaster Prone Communities Programme, (WASH in DPC) targeting 265 disaster prone communities in Northern Ghana. Through the programme, approximately 300,000 people in these communities, schools and healthcare facilities have received resilient water and sanitation infrastructure and thereby allowing for their social inclusion and universal access to water and sanitation and other essential services related to disaster management with early warning mechanisms by communities and Government bodies, including the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO). The 3-year programme was funded by Global Affairs (GAC), an endorsement of Canada’s aspiration “to foster an inclusive society where everyone’s needs are met” says Mr. Eric Chimsi, Development Officer at the Canadian High Commission.

Source : UN News