Dialogue on WASH in Disaster Prone Communities held in Accra

By
Joyce Danso, GNA

Accra Dec. 12, GNA –
A Policy dialogue which seeks to offer platform for stakeholders to discuss the
results of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Disaster Prone Communities
(DPC) in Ghana have been held in Accra.

The WASH in DPC
which began in 2014 and ended in 2017 also aim at addressing shocks occasioned
by extreme weather events particularly flooding on WASH facilities by providing
durable water supply solutions to prevent the contamination  of water supply sources.

It also seek to
provide resilient and durable sanitation facilities and good hygiene practices
in the disaster prone communities to prevent potential health impact and after
floods as well as assist communities to live normal lives after disasters.

The dialogue brought
together officials from the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources,
National Disaster Management Organization, Ghana Education Service, Coalition
of NGO’s in Water and Sanitation and the United Nations Agencies.

At the opening of
the dialogue Ms Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, United Nations Resident Coordinator, in a
speech read on her behalf noted that around the world including Ghana, floods,
drought and other extreme weather are being made worse by climate disruption.

Ms Lopez –Ekra noted
that floods in particular are one of the most common type of natural disaster
in the country and one of the most harmful to people and property.

“Global warming is
shifting rainfall patterns, making heavy rain more frequent in many areas of
the country, In addition, human alternation of the land and the destruction of
natural protective system are putting communities at greater risk of
experiencing destructive and costly floods.”

She said because of
floods, precious lives are lost, crops are ruined and properties including
schools and hospital are damaged.

According to her,
the great injustice of the climate crises was that its effects fell most on
those least responsible for it  and it
was the most vulnerable that get hurt first.

She was said there
was a lot that could be done to ensure that when floods occur, the resilience
of communities was strengthened to ensure that one disaster did not lead to
another

“This is what the
Joint UN Programme on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Disaster prone
Communities in the Northern Region of Ghana which was implemented from 2014 and
2017 sought to achieved.”

She said the WASH in
DPC over the years which benefited over 300,000 people would be replicated and
lessons leant would be shared with other communities.

Ms Lopez-Ekra
commended Global Affairs Canada for sponsoring the WASH in DPC over the period.

Ms Suzy Abaidoo,
WASH Programmes Officer, Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR) said
the ministry was developing a new National Water Policy to replace the old one
which was developed in 2007.

Ms Abaidoo was
optimistic that by the second quarter of 2021, the Ministry would be ready with
the draft policy.

She said the review
of the National Water Policy would reflect the current global, Africa Regional
and national developmental discourse.

Mr. Kweku Quansah,
Deputy Director, Environmental Health and Sanitation Director, MSWR stressed
the need for the provision of sustained services in the midst of increasing
population.

Mr. Quansah said the
MSWR was also developing a new Environmental Sanitation Policy.

The WASH in DPC
Programme has led to significant improvement in 265 targeted communities and
benefitted 323,416 people through the construction of flood resilient water
supply facilities in communities and flood resilient institutional sanitation
facilities in 222 schools.

The programme
evaluation recounted significant achievements and same required a follow up so
that beneficiaries could reap the full benefits of facilities and services.

Stakeholders are
expected to come out with an agreed set of policy relevant messages to be
considered by the MSWR by ensuring that resilience of WASH programme is
captured in the review discussions.

GNA

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