Recent floods in Africa highlight need for African-led adaptation actionMarch 24
by Alphonse Akouyu
Cameroon is in mourning and this time around the cause is flooding as a result of heavy torrential rains in the country’s Southwest Region, specifically in the regional capital of Buea on March 18, 2023.
Far away from Buea, Malawi is still in shock as to the devastation caused by floods in the country which took place on March 13, 2023.
The flood monitoring website – floodlist.com indicates that Cameroon, Malawi, Mozambique, Ghana, Madagascar, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mali, Angola, Namibia, Uganda, DR Congo and Congo Brazzaville have all been victims of floods in 2023 and we are only three months into the year.
The recent floods across the continent highlight the urgent need for local adaptation solutions to mitigate the impact of flooding on livelihoods and communities.
In the nearby town of Douala, a youth led enterprise has made it its mandate to contribute to flood mitigation. Bleaglee Waste Management helps communities mitigate the risk of floods by first using drones to identify waste in waterways and drainage channels. The drones also provide early warnings which is vital to mitigate the impact of floods.
Youth environmental groups and informal waste collectors work with Bleaglee to pick up and collect waste, which is then sorted and recycled. Plastic waste is turned into fuel and sold. The company works with vulnerable communities, businesses, government and non-governmental organizations.
The enterprise’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. In 2021, Bleaglee was awarded US$100,000 in funding from the Global Center on Adaptation(GCA) as part of the organization’s Youth Adaptation Solutions Challenge Program. The programme aims to equip young innovators with customized business development skills and resources to scale-up climate adaptation innovations and boost the creation of adaptation jobs. Selected enterprises receive grant funding up to US$100,000 and business and technical support through a 12-month accelerator programme. 35 African youth led enterprises have so far been selected for the programme.
Africa’s young people are going to bear the brunt of climate change even though they have contributed so very little to its causes. We must involve them as we draw up solutions to help tackle the impacts of our climate emergency.Dr Patrick Verkooijen
Africa’s youth have a key role to play in contributing to African Led Adaptation Action and the words of the GCA CEO Dr Patrick Verkooijen need no further interpretation.
It is therefore time to scale up adaptation action across the continent and the time is now not tomorrow and the youth must also be invited to the table.
As the bereaved bury their dead and loved ones wait in hope for the news of missing victims as a result of the recent floods across the continent, all we can do for now is hope that someone somewhere is listening or reading and will act ‘now’.