Accra Ghana: A City Vulnerable to Flooding and Drought-Induced Migration


This case study will address some expected climate-related impacts on Accra, Ghana, a rapidly developing coastal city with a population of about 3 million people on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. For this study, urban climate change impacts will be considered in the context of historical urban growth patterns in Accra, the influence of longstanding migration patterns from the interior and other coastal locations, and the threat of flooding from streams and other urban waterways. All of these factors will play a role in estimating Accra’s resilience in the face of climate change, although the specific contribution of each factor is in fact unknown. Considering future impacts necessarily involves consideration of population-environment interactions as they currently exist. In Accra, there are an estimated 172,000 residents at risk of a 10-year flood. Of that total, 33,000 residents are located in slums or substandard housing units. An important impact of climate change illustrated by this case study is migration, both international and domestic, occurring over a variety of time scales. The economic and social impacts of migration are not often described in the detail that physical impacts of climate change are. Examining the impact of migration in Accra provides an important perspective on those challenges that occur in the developing world.

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Publisher UN-HABITAT
Year 2011
Author(s) Rain D, Engstrom R, Ludlow C, Antos S
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