Flood Vulnerability and the Politics of Eviction around Korle Lagoon in Accra, Ghana (16624)
In many Sub-Saharan African cities informal urbanization, vulnerability to natural hazards and the intervention of the state/city government are shaped around complex socio-economic factors, political alliances and actors. This paper explores the socio-cultural, economic and political factors influencing vulnerability to flood hazards in two informal settlements along the banks of Korle Lagoon close to the CBD of Accra, Ghana.
Agbogbloshie is an indigenous slum community located on a 115 hectare of land while Old Fadama is a squatter settlement on a 31 hectare unused government land. The communities are vulnerable to perennial flood hazards from the overflow of Odaw River and Korle Lagoon and for more than a decade, affected residents, with the support of local and international NGOs have been able to resist forced evictions but not their exposure and vulnerability to flood hazards and poor environmental health conditions. Using mixed methods including community focus group discussions, hazard victims’ interviews and institutional consultations and surveys, the paper explores the vulnerabilities to flood hazards in the two communities and how these have been shaped and influenced by political engagements among various stakeholders as well as their effects on responses to flood hazards adopted by the communities and relevant state institutions.
The paper reveals that flood vulnerability constructs and responses are shaped by the legitimacy and recognition of the communities by city authorities, access to urban planning, presence and voices of local and international political actors. The paper therefore recommends a rethink of the overall urban planning and development process which places great emphasis on the security of tenure, at the expense of land management and participatory urban governance, housing provision, access to infrastructure and the right to urban citizenship.