This week we went back to our pilot areas to conduct the 'social surveys'. We split up in 2 teams, Gideon and Kofi being the captains, translating all the replies from Twi to English. The team with the most surveys completed wins, let the games begin!
The surveys are a moment for inhabitants to share their personal stories on the big flood event of last year in June. Our questions are about warning, responses and recovery from the disaster and we ask people about their views on the causes of the flooding in their neighborhood. By snapping pictures of flood marks, we gather information to calibrate our model on. We also learn about household waste management and the costs of waste disposal.
Recording experiences of the people living in our pilot area has been the best part of our field work. One, because Ghanaians are extremely friendly, love to talk, want to explain everything to you and out criticism without hesitations. Second, because we get great questions and comments about our project back.
We listen to personal flood experiences. How Josephine went to bed at 9pm, just to wake up an hour later with the water raising quickly inside her house. A lady selling food next to her house along the Odaw drain saw the water gushing out of the channel and grabbed her children, put them on her shoulders in search for higher grounds. In her flight, she was aided by the community. Young men had made a human chain and went door to door to get children and women into safety, as the current was too strong at this point. Shopowners found their inventory and materials ruined the following day. People would take out their stuff, pile up the damaged good and incinerate it.
How did the people recover? No help came in for Mrs. Baakume, except from family members outside of Accra. NADMO had given her family of 25, a thin little mattress for which she had to cue for. No need to state her frustration level. Others, like the previously featured 'coconut lady', did receive help from the government. The ones living more upstream in the pilot catchment did not encounter any flooding or damage. The information we receive during the social surveys is extremely valuable information for the risk assessment.
It's scary to hear that no one saw the flood coming and were surprised to find themselves up until their neck in the water in a matter of minutes. Image this happening in the dark during the night, with little children around. A terrifying experience.
Score at the end of the day: Team Gideon 10 / Team Kofi 6...... to be continued next week