Fingertip Flash Flood Forecasting
Report on the launch of the FFF app
Ghanaians can now take greater control of their personal safety with the new flash flood forecasting app - a VIA Water project - that was launched on 16 September at NADMO headquarters. The app will give residents of the flood prone area around the capital, Accra, individual access via their cell phones to accurate flood predictions and warnings allowing them to quickly understand the level of risk and take precautions as required.
In 2015 floods devastated communities in Ghana’s capital, Accra. One very tragic flood took the lives of 150 people. Thanks to the Dutch VIA Water Programme the project partners were able to develop and implement an improved system for flood warnings.
Hanneke Schuurmans who led the project said: “On a visit to the site of the 2015 flooding it became clear to me that warnings reached the people in the communities too late for them to adequately prepare or evacuate and the lack of real time data meant that the warnings could not be relied upon even once they were broadcasted.
“Our app draws on modern satellite data and a new generation of flood modelling to accurately predict the area and extent of possible flooding. By using our app the residents of Accra will have access to timely and accurate warnings, saving lives and property from the devastating consequences of flooding.”
The project team was led by Royal HaskoningDHV and included 3Di, Infoplaza and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) in Ghana. Using rain storm forecasts and a hydrological model, the app translates data into warning which gives 50% greater accuracy and hours earlier notice to users than the existing forecasting and warning systems.
Speaking of the project Dr Kingsford of NADMO said: “Floods can devastate an area leading to personal tragedy and economic challenges as we sadly witnessed in June 2015. By learning lessons from the past and by building strong working partnerships within the project team the work done by Royal HaskoningDHV and the rest of the consortium has resulted in a fast, accurate warning system which will significantly improve the safety of the local population.”
“The launch marks the start of a year-long pilot project in the Accra area. If successful we hope that the app will be rolled out to other areas of increased flood risk.”
After the official launch at NADMO headquarters, flood risk communities were visited together with local NADMO officers. After meeting with the local chiefs, flyers with instruction how to download the App were handed out to community members. The reactions were very positive, and the amount of people owning a smart phone was beyond expectations.